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Words Have Lost Their Common Meaning (The Atlantic)

theatlantic.com

John McWhorter, contributing writer at The Atlantic and professor at Columbia University

March 31, 2021


The word racism, among others, has become maddeningly confusing in current usage.

An illustration of quotation marks and the United States split in two.
Adam Maida / The Atlantic

Has American society ever been in less basic agreement on what so many important words actually mean? Terms we use daily mean such different things to different people that communication is often blunted considerably, and sometimes even thwarted entirely. The gap between how the initiated express their ideological beliefs and how everyone else does seems larger than ever.

The word racism has become almost maddeningly confusing in current usage. It tempts a linguist such as me to contravene the dictum that trying to influence the course of language change is futile.

Racism began as a reference to personal prejudice, but in the 1960s was extended via metaphor to society, the idea being that a society riven with disparities according to race was itself a racist one. This convention, implying that something as abstract as a society can be racist, has always felt tricky, best communicated in sociology classes or careful discussions.

To be sure, the idea that disparities between white and Black people are due to injustices against Black people—either racist sentiment or large-scale results of racist neglect—seems as plain as day to some, especially in academia. However, after 50 years, this usage of racism has yet to stop occasioning controversy; witness the outcry when Merriam-Webster recently altered its definition of the word to acknowledge the “systemic” aspect. This controversy endures for two reasons.

First, the idea that all racial disparities are due to injustice may imply that mere cultural differences do not exist. The rarity of the Black oboist may be due simply to Black Americans not having much interest in the oboe—hardly a character flaw or evidence of some inadequacy—as opposed to subtly racist attitudes among music teachers or even the thinness of musical education in public schools. Second, the concept of systemic racism elides or downplays that disparities can also persist because of racism in the past, no longer in operation and thus difficult to “address.”

Two real-world examples of strained usage come to mind. Opponents of the modern filibuster have taken to calling it “racist” because it has been used for racist ends. This implies a kind of contamination, a rather unsophisticated perspective given that this “racist” practice has been readily supported by noted non-racists such as Barack Obama (before he changed his mind on the matter). Similar is the idea that standardized tests are “racist” because Black kids often don’t do as well on them as white kids. If the tests’ content is biased toward knowledge that white kids are more likely to have, that complaint may be justified. Otherwise, factors beyond the tests themselves, such as literacy in the home, whether children are tested throughout childhood, how plugged in their parents are to test-prep opportunities, and subtle attitudes toward school and the printed page, likely explain why some groups might be less prepared to excel at them.

Dictionaries are correct to incorporate the societal usage of racism, because it is now common coin. The lexicographer describes rather than prescribes. However, its enshrinement in dictionaries leaves its unwieldiness intact, just as a pretty map can include a road full of potholes that suddenly becomes one-way at a dangerous curve. Nearly every designation of someone or something as “racist” in modern America raises legitimate questions, and leaves so many legions of people confused or irritated that no one can responsibly dismiss all of this confusion and irritation as mere, well, racism.

To speak English is to know the difference between pairs of words that might as well be the same one: entrance and entry. Awesome and awful are similar. However, one might easily feel less confident about the difference between equality and equity, in the way that today’s crusaders use the word in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In this usage, equity is not a mere alternate word for equality, but harbors an assumption: that where the races are not represented roughly according to their presence in the population, the reason must be a manifestation of (societal) racism. A teachers’ conference in Washington State last year included a presentation underlining: “If you conclude that outcomes differences by demographic subgroup are a result of anything other than a broken system, that is, by definition, bigotry.” A DEI facilitator specifies that “equity is not an outcome”—in the way equality is—but “a process that begins by acknowledging [people’s] unequal starting place and makes a commitment to correct and address the imbalance.”

Equality is a state, an outcome—but equity, a word that sounds just like it and has a closely related meaning, is a commitment and effort, designed to create equality. That is a nuance of a kind usually encountered in graduate seminars about the precise definitions of concepts such as freedom. It will throw or even turn off those disinclined to attend that closely: Fondness for exegesis will forever be thinly distributed among humans.

Many will thus feel that the society around them has enough “equalness”—i.e., what equity sounds like—such that what they may see as attempts to force more of it via set-aside policies will seem draconian rather than just. The subtle difference between equality and equity will always require flagging, which will only ever be so effective.

The nature of how words change, compounded by the effects of our social-media bubbles, means that many vocal people on the left now use social justice as a stand-in for justice—in the same way we say advance planning instead of planning or 12 midnight instead of midnight—as if the social part were a mere redundant, rhetorical decoration upon the keystone notion of justice. An advocacy group for wellness and nutrition titled one of its messages “In the name of social justice, food security and human dignity,” but within the text refers simply to “justice” and “injustice,” without the social prefix, as if social justice is simply justice incarnate. The World Social Justice Day project includes more tersely named efforts such as “Task Force on Justice” and “Justice for All.” Baked into this is a tacit conflation of social justice with justice conceived more broadly.

However, this usage of the term social justice is typically based on a very particular set of commitments especially influential in this moment: that all white people must view society as founded upon racist discrimination, such that all white people are complicit in white supremacy, requiring the forcing through of equity in suspension of usual standards of qualification or sometimes even logic (math is racist). A view of justice this peculiar, specific, and even revolutionary is an implausible substitute for millennia of discussion about the nature of the good, much less its apotheosis.

What to do? I suggest—albeit with little hope—that the terms social justice and equity be used, or at least heard, as the proposals that they are. Otherwise, Americans are in for decades of non-conversations based on greatly different visions of what justice and equ(al)ity are.

I suspect that the way the term racism is used is too entrenched to yield to anyone’s preferences. However, if I could wave a magic wand, Americans would go back to using racism to refer to personal sentiment, while we would phase out so hopelessly confusing a term as societal racism.

I would replace it with societal disparities, with a slot open afterward for according to race, or according to immigration status, or what have you. Inevitably, the sole term societal disparities would conventionalize as referring to race-related disparities. However, even this would avoid the endless distractions caused by using the same term—racism—for both prejudice and faceless, albeit pernicious, inequities.

My proposals qualify, indeed, as modest. I suspect that certain people will continue to use social justice as if they have figured out a concept that proved elusive from Plato through Kant through Rawls. Equity will continue to be refracted through that impression. Legions will still either struggle to process racism both harbored by persons and instantiated by a society, or just quietly accept the conflation to avoid making waves.

What all of this will mean is a debate about race in which our problem-solving is hindered by the fact that we too often lack a common language for discussing the topic.

John McWhorter is a contributing writer at The Atlantic. He teaches linguistics at Columbia University, hosts the podcast Lexicon Valley, and is the author of the upcoming Nine Nasty Words: English in the Gutter Then, Now and Always.

NOAA Acknowledges the New Reality of Hurricane Season (Gizmodo)

earther.gizmodo.com

Molly Taft, March 2, 2021


This combination of satellite images provided by the National Hurricane Center shows 30 hurricanes that occurred during the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.
This combination of satellite images provided by the National Hurricane Center shows 30 hurricanes that occurred during the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

We’re one step closer to officially moving up hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center announced Tuesday that it would formally start issuing its hurricane season tropical weather outlooks on May 15 this year, bumping it up from the traditional start of hurricane season on June 1. The move comes after a recent spate of early season storms have raked the Atlantic.

Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. That’s when conditions are most conducive to storm formation owing to warm air and water temperatures. (The Pacific ocean has its own hurricane season, which covers the same timeframe, but since waters are colder fewer hurricanes tend to form there than in the Atlantic.)

Storms have begun forming on the Atlantic earlier as ocean and air temperatures have increased due to climate change. Last year, Hurricane Arthur roared to life off the East Coast on May 16. That storm made 2020 the sixth hurricane season in a row to have a storm that formed earlier than the June 1 official start date. While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration won’t be moving up the start of the season just yet, the earlier outlooks addresses the recent history.

“In the last decade, there have been 10 storms formed in the weeks before the traditional start of the season, which is a big jump,” said Sean Sublette, a meteorologist at Climate Central, who pointed out that the 1960s through 2010s saw between one and three storms each decade before the June 1 start date on average.

It might be tempting to ascribe this earlier season entirely to climate change warming the Atlantic. But technology also has a role to play, with more observations along the coast as well as satellites that can spot storms far out to sea.

“I would caution that we can’t just go, ‘hah, the planet’s warming, we’ve had to move the entire season!’” Sublette said. “I don’t think there’s solid ground for attribution of how much of one there is over the other. Weather folks can sit around and debate that for awhile.”

Earlier storms don’t necessarily mean more harmful ones, either. In fact, hurricanes earlier in the season tend to be weaker than the monsters that form in August and September when hurricane season is at its peak. But regardless of their strength, these earlier storms have generated discussion inside the NHC on whether to move up the official start date for the season, when the agency usually puts out two reports per day on hurricane activity. Tuesday’s step is not an official announcement of this decision, but an acknowledgement of the increased attention on early hurricanes.

“I would say that [Tuesday’s announcement] is the National Hurricane Center being proactive,” Sublette said. “Like hey, we know that the last few years it’s been a little busier in May than we’ve seen in the past five decades, and we know there is an awareness now, so we’re going to start issuing these reports early.”

While the jury is still out on whether climate change is pushing the season earlier, research has shown that the strongest hurricanes are becoming more common, and that climate change is likely playing a role. A study published last year found the odds of a storm becoming a major hurricanes—those Category 3 or stronger—have increase 49% in the basin since satellite monitoring began in earnest four decades ago. And when storms make landfall, sea level rise allows them to do more damage. So regardless of if climate change is pushing Atlantic hurricane season is getting earlier or not, the risks are increasing. Now, at least, we’ll have better warnings before early storms do hit.

The Coronavirus Is Plotting a Comeback. Here’s Our Chance to Stop It for Good. (New York Times)

nytimes.com

Apoorva Mandavilli


Lincoln Park in Chicago. Scientists are hopeful, as vaccinations continue and despite the emergence of variants, that we’re past the worst of the pandemic.
Lincoln Park in Chicago. Scientists are hopeful, as vaccinations continue and despite the emergence of variants, that we’re past the worst of the pandemic. Credit: Lyndon French for The New York Times
Many scientists are expecting another rise in infections. But this time the surge will be blunted by vaccines and, hopefully, widespread caution. By summer, Americans may be looking at a return to normal life.

Published Feb. 25, 2021Updated Feb. 26, 2021, 12:07 a.m. ET

Across the United States, and the world, the coronavirus seems to be loosening its stranglehold. The deadly curve of cases, hospitalizations and deaths has yo-yoed before, but never has it plunged so steeply and so fast.

Is this it, then? Is this the beginning of the end? After a year of being pummeled by grim statistics and scolded for wanting human contact, many Americans feel a long-promised deliverance is at hand.

Americans will win against the virus and regain many aspects of their pre-pandemic lives, most scientists now believe. Of the 21 interviewed for this article, all were optimistic that the worst of the pandemic is past. This summer, they said, life may begin to seem normal again.

But — of course, there’s always a but — researchers are also worried that Americans, so close to the finish line, may once again underestimate the virus.

So far, the two vaccines authorized in the United States are spectacularly effective, and after a slow start, the vaccination rollout is picking up momentum. A third vaccine is likely to be authorized shortly, adding to the nation’s supply.

But it will be many weeks before vaccinations make a dent in the pandemic. And now the virus is shape-shifting faster than expected, evolving into variants that may partly sidestep the immune system.

The latest variant was discovered in New York City only this week, and another worrisome version is spreading at a rapid pace through California. Scientists say a contagious variant first discovered in Britain will become the dominant form of the virus in the United States by the end of March.

The road back to normalcy is potholed with unknowns: how well vaccines prevent further spread of the virus; whether emerging variants remain susceptible enough to the vaccines; and how quickly the world is immunized, so as to halt further evolution of the virus.

But the greatest ambiguity is human behavior. Can Americans desperate for normalcy keep wearing masks and distancing themselves from family and friends? How much longer can communities keep businesses, offices and schools closed?

Covid-19 deaths will most likely never rise quite as precipitously as in the past, and the worst may be behind us. But if Americans let down their guard too soon — many states are already lifting restrictions — and if the variants spread in the United States as they have elsewhere, another spike in cases may well arrive in the coming weeks.

Scientists call it the fourth wave. The new variants mean “we’re essentially facing a pandemic within a pandemic,” said Adam Kucharski, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

A patient received comfort in the I.C.U. of Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, Calif., last month. 
Credit: Daniel Dreifuss for The New York Times

The United States has now recorded 500,000 deaths amid the pandemic, a terrible milestone. As of Wednesday morning, at least 28.3 million people have been infected.

But the rate of new infections has tumbled by 35 percent over the past two weeks, according to a database maintained by The New York Times. Hospitalizations are down 31 percent, and deaths have fallen by 16 percent.

Yet the numbers are still at the horrific highs of November, scientists noted. At least 3,210 people died of Covid-19 on Wednesday alone. And there is no guarantee that these rates will continue to decrease.

“Very, very high case numbers are not a good thing, even if the trend is downward,” said Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. “Taking the first hint of a downward trend as a reason to reopen is how you get to even higher numbers.”

In late November, for example, Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island limited social gatherings and some commercial activities in the state. Eight days later, cases began to decline. The trend reversed eight days after the state’s pause lifted on Dec. 20.

The virus’s latest retreat in Rhode Island and most other states, experts said, results from a combination of factors: growing numbers of people with immunity to the virus, either from having been infected or from vaccination; changes in behavior in response to the surges of a few weeks ago; and a dash of seasonality — the effect of temperature and humidity on the survival of the virus.

Parts of the country that experienced huge surges in infection, like Montana and Iowa, may be closer to herd immunity than other regions. But patchwork immunity alone cannot explain the declines throughout much of the world.

The vaccines were first rolled out to residents of nursing homes and to the elderly, who are at highest risk of severe illness and death. That may explain some of the current decline in hospitalizations and deaths.

A volunteer in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial received a shot in the Desmond Tutu H.I.V. Foundation Youth Center in Masiphumelele, South Africa, in December.
Credit: Joao Silva/The New York Times

But young people drive the spread of the virus, and most of them have not yet been inoculated. And the bulk of the world’s vaccine supply has been bought up by wealthy nations, which have amassed one billion more doses than needed to immunize their populations.

Vaccination cannot explain why cases are dropping even in countries where not a single soul has been immunized, like Honduras, Kazakhstan or Libya. The biggest contributor to the sharp decline in infections is something more mundane, scientists say: behavioral change.

Leaders in the United States and elsewhere stepped up community restrictions after the holiday peaks. But individual choices have also been important, said Lindsay Wiley, an expert in public health law and ethics at American University in Washington.

“People voluntarily change their behavior as they see their local hospital get hit hard, as they hear about outbreaks in their area,” she said. “If that’s the reason that things are improving, then that’s something that can reverse pretty quickly, too.”

The downward curve of infections with the original coronavirus disguises an exponential rise in infections with B.1.1.7, the variant first identified in Britain, according to many researchers.

“We really are seeing two epidemic curves,” said Ashleigh Tuite, an infectious disease modeler at the University of Toronto.

The B.1.1.7 variant is thought to be more contagious and more deadly, and it is expected to become the predominant form of the virus in the United States by late March. The number of cases with the variant in the United States has risen from 76 in 12 states as of Jan. 13 to more than 1,800 in 45 states now. Actual infections may be much higher because of inadequate surveillance efforts in the United States.

Buoyed by the shrinking rates over all, however, governors are lifting restrictions across the United States and are under enormous pressure to reopen completely. Should that occur, B.1.1.7 and the other variants are likely to explode.

“Everybody is tired, and everybody wants things to open up again,” Dr. Tuite said. “Bending to political pressure right now, when things are really headed in the right direction, is going to end up costing us in the long term.”

A fourth wave doesn’t have to be inevitable, scientists say, but the new variants will pose a significant challenge to averting that wave.
Credit: Lyndon French for The New York Times

Looking ahead to late March or April, the majority of scientists interviewed by The Times predicted a fourth wave of infections. But they stressed that it is not an inevitable surge, if government officials and individuals maintain precautions for a few more weeks.

A minority of experts were more sanguine, saying they expected powerful vaccines and an expanding rollout to stop the virus. And a few took the middle road.

“We’re at that crossroads, where it could go well or it could go badly,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The vaccines have proved to be more effective than anyone could have hoped, so far preventing serious illness and death in nearly all recipients. At present, about 1.4 million Americans are vaccinated each day. More than 45 million Americans have received at least one dose.

A team of researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle tried to calculate the number of vaccinations required per day to avoid a fourth wave. In a model completed before the variants surfaced, the scientists estimated that vaccinating just one million Americans a day would limit the magnitude of the fourth wave.

“But the new variants completely changed that,” said Dr. Joshua T. Schiffer, an infectious disease specialist who led the study. “It’s just very challenging scientifically — the ground is shifting very, very quickly.”

Natalie Dean, a biostatistician at the University of Florida, described herself as “a little more optimistic” than many other researchers. “We would be silly to undersell the vaccines,” she said, noting that they are effective against the fast-spreading B.1.1.7 variant.

But Dr. Dean worried about the forms of the virus detected in South Africa and Brazil that seem less vulnerable to the vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna. (On Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson reported that its vaccine was relatively effective against the variant found in South Africa.)

Ccoronavirus test samples in a lab for genomic sequencing at Duke University in Durham, N.C., earlier this month.
Credit: Pete Kiehart for The New York Times

About 50 infections with those two variants have been identified in the United States, but that could change. Because of the variants, scientists do not know how many people who were infected and had recovered are now vulnerable to reinfection.

South Africa and Brazil have reported reinfections with the new variants among people who had recovered from infections with the original version of the virus.

“That makes it a lot harder to say, ‘If we were to get to this level of vaccinations, we’d probably be OK,’” said Sarah Cobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago.

Yet the biggest unknown is human behavior, experts said. The sharp drop in cases now may lead to complacency about masks and distancing, and to a wholesale lifting of restrictions on indoor dining, sporting events and more. Or … not.

“The single biggest lesson I’ve learned during the pandemic is that epidemiological modeling struggles with prediction, because so much of it depends on human behavioral factors,” said Carl Bergstrom, a biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Taking into account the counterbalancing rises in both vaccinations and variants, along with the high likelihood that people will stop taking precautions, a fourth wave is highly likely this spring, the majority of experts told The Times.

Kristian Andersen, a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, said he was confident that the number of cases will continue to decline, then plateau in about a month. After mid-March, the curve in new cases will swing upward again.

In early to mid-April, “we’re going to start seeing hospitalizations go up,” he said. “It’s just a question of how much.”

Hospitalizations and deaths will fall to levels low enough to reopen the country — though mask-wearing may remain necessary as a significant portion of people, including children, won’t be immunized.
Credit: Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

Now the good news.

Despite the uncertainties, the experts predict that the last surge will subside in the United States sometime in the early summer. If the Biden administration can keep its promise to immunize every American adult by the end of the summer, the variants should be no match for the vaccines.

Combine vaccination with natural immunity and the human tendency to head outdoors as weather warms, and “it may not be exactly herd immunity, but maybe it’s sufficient to prevent any large outbreaks,” said Youyang Gu, an independent data scientist, who created some of the most prescient models of the pandemic.

Infections will continue to drop. More important, hospitalizations and deaths will fall to negligible levels — enough, hopefully, to reopen the country.

“Sometimes people lose vision of the fact that vaccines prevent hospitalization and death, which is really actually what most people care about,” said Stefan Baral, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Even as the virus begins its swoon, people may still need to wear masks in public places and maintain social distance, because a significant percent of the population — including children — will not be immunized.

“Assuming that we keep a close eye on things in the summer and don’t go crazy, I think that we could look forward to a summer that is looking more normal, but hopefully in a way that is more carefully monitored than last summer,” said Emma Hodcroft, a molecular epidemiologist at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Imagine: Groups of vaccinated people will be able to get together for barbecues and play dates, without fear of infecting one another. Beaches, parks and playgrounds will be full of mask-free people. Indoor dining will return, along with movie theaters, bowling alleys and shopping malls — although they may still require masks.

The virus will still be circulating, but the extent will depend in part on how well vaccines prevent not just illness and death, but also transmission. The data on whether vaccines stop the spread of the disease are encouraging, but immunization is unlikely to block transmission entirely.

Self-swab testing for Covid at Duke University in February.
Credit: Pete Kiehart for The New York Times

“It’s not zero and it’s not 100 — exactly where that number is will be important,” said Shweta Bansal, an infectious disease modeler at Georgetown University. “It needs to be pretty darn high for us to be able to get away with vaccinating anything below 100 percent of the population, so that’s definitely something we’re watching.”

Over the long term — say, a year from now, when all the adults and children in the United States who want a vaccine have received them — will this virus finally be behind us?

Every expert interviewed by The Times said no. Even after the vast majority of the American population has been immunized, the virus will continue to pop up in clusters, taking advantage of pockets of vulnerability. Years from now, the coronavirus may be an annoyance, circulating at low levels, causing modest colds.

Many scientists said their greatest worry post-pandemic was that new variants may turn out to be significantly less susceptible to the vaccines. Billions of people worldwide will remain unprotected, and each infection gives the virus new opportunities to mutate.

“We won’t have useless vaccines. We might have slightly less good vaccines than we have at the moment,” said Andrew Read, an evolutionary microbiologist at Penn State University. “That’s not the end of the world, because we have really good vaccines right now.”

For now, every one of us can help by continuing to be careful for just a few more months, until the curve permanently flattens.

“Just hang in there a little bit longer,” Dr. Tuite said. “There’s a lot of optimism and hope, but I think we need to be prepared for the fact that the next several months are likely to continue to be difficult.”

Credit: Lyndon French for The New York Times

Texas Power Grid Run by ERCOT Set Up the State for Disaster (New York Times)

nytimes.com

Clifford Krauss, Manny Fernandez, Ivan Penn, Rick Rojas – Feb 21, 2021


Texas has refused to join interstate electrical grids and railed against energy regulation. Now it’s having to answer to millions of residents who were left without power in last week’s snowstorm.

The cost of a free market electrical grid became painfully clear last week, as a snowstorm descended on Texas and millions of people ran out of power and water.
Credit: Nitashia Johnson for The New York Times

HOUSTON — Across the plains of West Texas, the pump jacks that resemble giant bobbing hammers define not just the landscape but the state itself: Texas has been built on the oil-and-gas business for the last 120 years, ever since the discovery of oil on Spindletop Hill near Beaumont in 1901.

Texas, the nation’s leading energy-producing state, seemed like the last place on Earth that could run out of energy.

Then last week, it did.

The crisis could be traced to that other defining Texas trait: independence, both from big government and from the rest of the country. The dominance of the energy industry and the “Republic of Texas” ethos became a devastating liability when energy stopped flowing to millions of Texans who shivered and struggled through a snowstorm that paralyzed much of the state.

Part of the responsibility for the near-collapse of the state’s electrical grid can be traced to the decision in 1999 to embark on the nation’s most extensive experiment in electrical deregulation, handing control of the state’s entire electricity delivery system to a market-based patchwork of private generators, transmission companies and energy retailers.

The energy industry wanted it. The people wanted it. Both parties supported it. “Competition in the electric industry will benefit Texans by reducing monthly rates and offering consumers more choices about the power they use,” George W. Bush, then the governor, said as he signed the top-to-bottom deregulation legislation.

Mr. Bush’s prediction of lower-cost power generally came true, and the dream of a free-market electrical grid worked reasonably well most of the time, in large part because Texas had so much cheap natural gas as well as abundant wind to power renewable energy. But the newly deregulated system came with few safeguards and even fewer enforced rules.

With so many cost-conscious utilities competing for budget-shopping consumers, there was little financial incentive to invest in weather protection and maintenance. Wind turbines are not equipped with the de-icing equipment routinely installed in the colder climes of the Dakotas and power lines have little insulation. The possibility of more frequent cold-weather events was never built into infrastructure plans in a state where climate change remains an exotic, disputed concept.

“Deregulation was something akin to abolishing the speed limit on an interstate highway,” said Ed Hirs, an energy fellow at the University of Houston. “That opens up shortcuts that cause disasters.”

The state’s entire energy infrastructure was walloped with glacial temperatures that even under the strongest of regulations might have frozen gas wells and downed power lines.

But what went wrong was far broader: Deregulation meant that critical rules of the road for power were set not by law, but rather by a dizzying array of energy competitors.

Utility regulation is intended to compensate for the natural monopolies that occur when a single electrical provider serves an area; it keeps prices down while protecting public safety and guaranteeing fair treatment to customers. Yet many states have flirted with deregulation as a way of giving consumers more choices and encouraging new providers, especially alternative energy producers.

California, one of the early deregulators in the 1990s, scaled back its initial foray after market manipulation led to skyrocketing prices and rolling blackouts.

States like Maryland allow customers to pick from a menu of producers. In some states, competing private companies offer varied packages like discounts for cheaper power at night. But no state has gone as far as Texas, which has not only turned over the keys to the free market but has also isolated itself from the national grid, limiting the state’s ability to import power when its own generators are foundering.

Consumers themselves got a direct shock last week when customers who had chosen variable-rate electricity contracts found themselves with power bills of $5,000 or more. While they were expecting extra-low monthly rates, many may now face huge bills as a result of the upswing in wholesale electricity prices during the cold wave. Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday said the state’s Public Utility Commission has issued a moratorium on customer disconnections for non-payment and will temporarily restrict providers from issuing invoices.

A family in Austin, Texas, kept warm by a fire outside their apartment on Wednesday. They lost power early Monday morning.
Credit: Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

There is regulation in the Texas system, but it is hardly robust. One nonprofit agency, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, was formed to manage the wholesale market. It is supervised by the Public Utility Commission, which also oversees the transmission companies that offer customers an exhaustive array of contract choices laced with more fine print than a credit card agreement.

But both agencies are nearly unaccountable and toothless compared to regulators in other regions, where many utilities have stronger consumer protections and submit an annual planning report to ensure adequate electricity supply. Texas energy companies are given wide latitude in their planning for catastrophic events.

One example of how Texas has gone it alone is its refusal to enforce a “reserve margin” of extra power available above expected demand, unlike all other power systems around North America. With no mandate, there is little incentive to invest in precautions for events, such as a Southern snowstorm, that are rare. Any company that took such precautions would put itself at a competitive disadvantage.

A surplus supply of natural gas, the dominant power fuel in Texas, near power plants might have helped avoid the cascade of failures in which power went off, forcing natural gas production and transmission offline, which in turn led to further power shortages.

In the aftermath of the dayslong outages, ERCOT has been criticized by both Democratic and Republican residents, lawmakers and business executives, a rare display of unity in a fiercely partisan and Republican-dominated state. Mr. Abbott said he supported calls for the agency’s leadership to resign and made ERCOT reform a priority for the Legislature. The reckoning has been swift — this week, lawmakers will hold hearings in Austin to investigate the agency’s handling of the storm and the rolling outages.

For ERCOT operators, the storm’s arrival was swift and fierce, but they had anticipated it and knew it would strain their system. They asked power customers across the state to conserve, warning that outages were likely.

But late on Sunday, Feb. 14, it rapidly became clear that the storm was far worse than they had expected: Sleet and snow fell, and temperatures plunged. In the council’s command center outside Austin, a room dominated by screens flashing with maps, graphics and data tracking the flow of electricity to 26 million people in Texas, workers quickly found themselves fending off a crisis. As weather worsened into Monday morning, residents cranked up their heaters and demand surged.

Power plants began falling offline in rapid succession as they were overcome by the frigid weather or ran out of fuel to burn. Within hours, 40 percent of the power supply had been lost.

The entire grid — carrying 90 percent of the electric load in Texas — was barreling toward a collapse.

Much of Austin lost power last week due to rolling blackouts.
Credit: Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

In the electricity business, supply and demand need to be in balance. Imbalances lead to catastrophic blackouts. Recovering from a total blackout would be an agonizing and tedious process, known as a “black start,” that could take weeks, or possibly months.

And in the early-morning hours last Monday, the Texas grid was “seconds and minutes” away from such a collapse, said Bill Magness, the president and chief executive of the Electric Reliability Council.

“If we had allowed a catastrophic blackout to happen, we wouldn’t be talking today about hopefully getting most customers their power back,” Mr. Magness said. “We’d be talking about how many months it might be before you get your power back.”

The outages and the cold weather touched off an avalanche of failures, but there had been warnings long before last week’s storm.

After a heavy snowstorm in February 2011 caused statewide rolling blackouts and left millions of Texans in the dark, federal authorities warned the state that its power infrastructure had inadequate “winterization” protection. But 10 years later, pipelines remained inadequately insulated and heaters that might have kept instruments from freezing were never installed.

During heat waves, when demand has soared during several recent summers, the system in Texas has also strained to keep up, raising questions about lack of reserve capacity on the unregulated grid.

And aside from the weather, there have been periodic signs that the system can run into trouble delivering sufficient energy, in some cases because of equipment failures, in others because of what critics called an attempt to drive up prices, according to Mr. Hirs of the University of Houston, as well as several energy consultants.

Another potential safeguard might have been far stronger connections to the two interstate power-sharing networks, East and West, that allow states to link their electrical grids and obtain power from thousands of miles away when needed to hold down costs and offset their own shortfalls.

But Texas, reluctant to submit to the federal regulation that is part of the regional power grids, made decisions as far back as the early 20th century to become the only state in the continental United States to operate its own grid — a plan that leaves it able to borrow only from a few close neighbors.

The border city of El Paso survived the freeze much better than Dallas or Houston because it was not part of the Texas grid but connected to the much larger grid covering many Western states.

But the problems that began with last Monday’s storm went beyond an isolated electrical grid. The entire ecosystem of how Texas generates, transmits and uses power stalled, as millions of Texans shivered in darkened, unheated homes.

A surplus supply of natural gas, the dominant power fuel in Texas, near power plants might have helped avoid the cascade of failures.
Credit: Eddie Seal/Bloomberg

Texans love to brag about natural gas, which state officials often call the cleanest-burning fossil fuel. No state produces more, and gas-fired power plants produce nearly half the state’s electricity.

“We are struggling to come to grips with the reality that gas came up short and let us down when we needed it most,” said Michael E. Webber, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

The cold was so severe that the enormous oil and natural gas fields of West Texas froze up, or could not get sufficient power to operate. Though a few plants had stored gas reserves, there was insufficient electricity to pump it.

The leaders of ERCOT defended the organization, its lack of mandated reserves and the state’s isolation from larger regional grids, and said the blame for the power crisis lies with the weather, not the overall deregulated system in Texas.

“The historic, just about unprecedented, storm was the heart of the problem,” Mr. Magness, the council’s chief executive, said, adding: “We’ve found that this market structure works. It demands reliability. I don’t think there’s a silver-bullet market structure that could have managed the extreme lows and generation outages that we were facing Sunday night.”

In Texas, energy regulation is as much a matter of philosophy as policy. Its independent power grid is a point of pride that has been an applause line in Texas political speeches for decades.

Deregulation is a hot topic among Texas energy experts, and there has been no shortage of predictions that the grid could fail under stress. But there has not been widespread public dissatisfaction with the system, although many are now wondering if they are being well served.

“I believe there is great value in Texas being on its own grid and I believe we can do so safely and securely and confidently going forward,” said State Representative Jeff Leach, a Republican from Plano who has called for an investigation into what went wrong. “But it’s going to take new investment and some new strategic decisions to make sure we’re protected from this ever happening again.”

Steven D. Wolens, a former Democratic lawmaker from Dallas and a principal architect of the 1999 deregulation legislation, said deregulation was meant to spur more generation, including from renewable energy sources, and to encourage the mothballing of older plants that were spewing pollution. “We were successful,” said Mr. Wolens, who left the Legislature in 2005.

But the 1999 legislation was intended as a first iteration that would evolve along with the needs of the state, he said. “They can focus on it now and they can fix it now,” he said. “The buck stops with the Texas Legislature and they are in a perfect position to determine the basis of the failure, to correct it and make sure it never happens again.”

Clifford Krauss reported from Houston, Manny Fernandez and Ivan Penn from Los Angeles, and Rick Rojas from Nashville. David Montgomery contributed reporting from Austin, Texas.

Texas Blackouts Point to Coast-to-Coast Crises Waiting to Happen (New York Times)

nytimes.com

Christopher Flavelle, Brad Plumer, Hiroko Tabuchi – Feb 20, 2021


Traffic at a standstill on Interstate 35 in Kileen, Texas, on Thursday.
Traffic at a standstill on Interstate 35 in Kileen, Texas, on Thursday. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Continent-spanning storms triggered blackouts in Oklahoma and Mississippi, halted one-third of U.S. oil production and disrupted vaccinations in 20 states.

Even as Texas struggled to restore electricity and water over the past week, signs of the risks posed by increasingly extreme weather to America’s aging infrastructure were cropping up across the country.

The week’s continent-spanning winter storms triggered blackouts in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and several other states. One-third of oil production in the nation was halted. Drinking-water systems in Ohio were knocked offline. Road networks nationwide were paralyzed and vaccination efforts in 20 states were disrupted.

The crisis carries a profound warning. As climate change brings more frequent and intense storms, floods, heat waves, wildfires and other extreme events, it is placing growing stress on the foundations of the country’s economy: Its network of roads and railways, drinking-water systems, power plants, electrical grids, industrial waste sites and even homes. Failures in just one sector can set off a domino effect of breakdowns in hard-to-predict ways.

Much of this infrastructure was built decades ago, under the expectation that the environment around it would remain stable, or at least fluctuate within predictable bounds. Now climate change is upending that assumption.

“We are colliding with a future of extremes,” said Alice Hill, who oversaw planning for climate risks on the National Security Council during the Obama administration. “We base all our choices about risk management on what’s occurred in the past, and that is no longer a safe guide.”

While it’s not always possible to say precisely how global warming influenced any one particular storm, scientists said, an overall rise in extreme weather creates sweeping new risks.

Sewer systems are overflowing more often as powerful rainstorms exceed their design capacity. Coastal homes and highways are collapsing as intensified runoff erodes cliffs. Coal ash, the toxic residue produced by coal-burning plants, is spilling into rivers as floods overwhelm barriers meant to hold it back. Homes once beyond the reach of wildfires are burning in blazes they were never designed to withstand.

A broken water main in McComb., Miss. on Thursday.
Credit: Matt Williamson/The Enterprise-Journal, via Associated Press

Problems like these often reflect an inclination of governments to spend as little money as possible, said Shalini Vajjhala, a former Obama administration official who now advises cities on meeting climate threats. She said it’s hard to persuade taxpayers to spend extra money to guard against disasters that seem unlikely.

But climate change flips that logic, making inaction far costlier. “The argument I would make is, we can’t afford not to, because we’re absorbing the costs” later, Ms. Vajjhala said, after disasters strike. “We’re spending poorly.”

The Biden administration has talked extensively about climate change, particularly the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs in renewable energy. But it has spent less time discussing how to manage the growing effects of climate change, facing criticism from experts for not appointing more people who focus on climate resilience.

“I am extremely concerned by the lack of emergency-management expertise reflected in Biden’s climate team,” said Samantha Montano, an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy who focuses on disaster policy. “There’s an urgency here that still is not being reflected.”

A White House spokesman, Vedant Patel, said in a statement, “Building resilient and sustainable infrastructure that can withstand extreme weather and a changing climate will play an integral role in creating millions of good paying, union jobs” while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

And while President Biden has called for a major push to refurbish and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, getting a closely divided Congress to spend hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars, will be a major challenge.

Heightening the cost to society, disruptions can disproportionately affect lower-income households and other vulnerable groups, including older people or those with limited English.

“All these issues are converging,” said Robert D. Bullard, a professor at Texas Southern University who studies wealth and racial disparities related to the environment. “And there’s simply no place in this country that’s not going to have to deal with climate change.”

Flooding around Edenville Township, Mich., last year swept away a bridge over the Tittabawassee River.
Credit: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images

In September, when a sudden storm dumped a record of more than two inches of water on Washington in less than 75 minutes, the result wasn’t just widespread flooding, but also raw sewage rushing into hundreds of homes.

Washington, like many other cities in the Northeast and Midwest, relies on what’s called a combined sewer overflow system: If a downpour overwhelms storm drains along the street, they are built to overflow into the pipes that carry raw sewage. But if there’s too much pressure, sewage can be pushed backward, into people’s homes — where the forces can send it erupting from toilets and shower drains.

This is what happened in Washington. The city’s system was built in the late 1800s. Now, climate change is straining an already outdated design.

DC Water, the local utility, is spending billions of dollars so that the system can hold more sewage. “We’re sort of in uncharted territory,” said Vincent Morris, a utility spokesman.

The challenge of managing and taming the nation’s water supplies — whether in streets and homes, or in vast rivers and watersheds — is growing increasingly complex as storms intensify. Last May, rain-swollen flooding breached two dams in Central Michigan, forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes and threatening a chemical complex and toxic waste cleanup site. Experts warned it was unlikely to be the last such failure.

Many of the country’s 90,000 dams were built decades ago and were already in dire need of repairs. Now climate change poses an additional threat, bringing heavier downpours to parts of the country and raising the odds that some dams could be overwhelmed by more water than they were designed to handle. One recent study found that most of California’s biggest dams were at increased risk of failure as global warming advances.

In recent years, dam-safety officials have begun grappling with the dangers. Colorado, for instance, now requires dam builders to take into account the risk of increased atmospheric moisture driven by climate change as they plan for worst-case flooding scenarios.

But nationwide, there remains a backlog of thousands of older dams that still need to be rehabilitated or upgraded. The price tag could ultimately stretch to more than $70 billion.

“Whenever we study dam failures, we often find there was a lot of complacency beforehand,” said Bill McCormick, president of the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. But given that failures can have catastrophic consequences, “we really can’t afford to be complacent.”

Crews repaired switches on utility poles damaged by the storms in Texas.
Credit: Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

If the Texas blackouts exposed one state’s poor planning, they also provide a warning for the nation: Climate change threatens virtually every aspect of electricity grids that aren’t always designed to handle increasingly severe weather. The vulnerabilities show up in power lines, natural-gas plants, nuclear reactors and myriad other systems.

Higher storm surges can knock out coastal power infrastructure. Deeper droughts can reduce water supplies for hydroelectric dams. Severe heat waves can reduce the efficiency of fossil-fuel generators, transmission lines and even solar panels at precisely the moment that demand soars because everyone cranks up their air-conditioners.

Climate hazards can also combine in new and unforeseen ways.

In California recently, Pacific Gas & Electric has had to shut off electricity to thousands of people during exceptionally dangerous fire seasons. The reason: Downed power lines can spark huge wildfires in dry vegetation. Then, during a record-hot August last year, several of the state’s natural gas plants malfunctioned in the heat, just as demand was spiking, contributing to blackouts.

“We have to get better at understanding these compound impacts,” said Michael Craig, an expert in energy systems at the University of Michigan who recently led a study looking at how rising summer temperatures in Texas could strain the grid in unexpected ways. “It’s an incredibly complex problem to plan for.”

Some utilities are taking notice. After Superstorm Sandy in 2012 knocked out power for 8.7 million customers, utilities in New York and New Jersey invested billions in flood walls, submersible equipment and other technology to reduce the risk of failures. Last month, New York’s Con Edison said it would incorporate climate projections into its planning.

As freezing temperatures struck Texas, a glitch at one of two reactors at a South Texas nuclear plant, which serves 2 million homes, triggered a shutdown. The cause: Sensing lines connected to the plant’s water pumps had frozen, said Victor Dricks, a spokesman for the federal Nuclear Regulatory Agency.

It’s also common for extreme heat to disrupt nuclear power. The issue is that the water used to cool reactors can become too warm to use, forcing shutdowns.

Flooding is another risk.

After a tsunami led to several meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant in 2011, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission told the 60 or so working nuclear plants in the United States, many decades old, to evaluate their flood risk to account for climate change. Ninety percent showed at least one type of flood risk that exceeded what the plant was designed to handle.

The greatest risk came from heavy rain and snowfall exceeding the design parameters at 53 plants.

Scott Burnell, an Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman, said in a statement, “The NRC continues to conclude, based on the staff’s review of detailed analyses, that all U.S. nuclear power plants can appropriately deal with potential flooding events, including the effects of climate change, and remain safe.”

A section of Highway 1 along the California coastline collapsed in January amid heavy rains.
Credit: Josh Edelson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The collapse of a portion of California’s Highway 1 into the Pacific Ocean after heavy rains last month was a reminder of the fragility of the nation’s roads.

Several climate-related risks appeared to have converged to heighten the danger. Rising seas and higher storm surges have intensified coastal erosion, while more extreme bouts of precipitation have increased the landslide risk.

Add to that the effects of devastating wildfires, which can damage the vegetation holding hillside soil in place, and “things that wouldn’t have slid without the wildfires, start sliding,” said Jennifer M. Jacobs, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of New Hampshire. “I think we’re going to see more of that.”

The United States depends on highways, railroads and bridges as economic arteries for commerce, travel and simply getting to work. But many of the country’s most important links face mounting climate threats. More than 60,000 miles of roads and bridges in coastal floodplains are already vulnerable to extreme storms and hurricanes, government estimates show. And inland flooding could also threaten at least 2,500 bridges across the country by 2050, a federal climate report warned in 2018.

Sometimes even small changes can trigger catastrophic failures. Engineers modeling the collapse of bridges over Escambia Bay in Florida during Hurricane Ivan in 2004 found that the extra three inches of sea-level rise since the bridge was built in 1968 very likely contributed to the collapse, because of the added height of the storm surge and force of the waves.

“A lot of our infrastructure systems have a tipping point. And when you hit the tipping point, that’s when a failure occurs,” Dr. Jacobs said. “And the tipping point could be an inch.”

Crucial rail networks are at risk, too. In 2017, Amtrak consultants found that along parts of the Northeast corridor, which runs from Boston to Washington and carries 12 million people a year, flooding and storm surge could erode the track bed, disable the signals and eventually put the tracks underwater.

And there is no easy fix. Elevating the tracks would require also raising bridges, electrical wires and lots of other infrastructure, and moving them would mean buying new land in a densely packed part of the country. So the report recommended flood barriers, costing $24 million per mile, that must be moved into place whenever floods threaten.

A worker checked efforts to prevent coal ash from escaping into the Waccamaw River in South Carolina after Hurricane Florence in 2018.
Credit: Randall Hill/Reuters

A series of explosions at a flood-damaged chemical plant outside Houston after Hurricane Harvey in 2017 highlighted a danger lurking in a world beset by increasingly extreme weather.

The blasts at the plant came after flooding knocked out the site’s electrical supply, shutting down refrigeration systems that kept volatile chemicals stable. Almost two dozen people, many of them emergency workers, were treated for exposure to the toxic fumes, and some 200 nearby residents were evacuated from their homes.

More than 2,500 facilities that handle toxic chemicals lie in federal flood-prone areas across the country, about 1,400 of them in areas at the highest risk of flooding, a New York Times analysis showed in 2018.

Leaks from toxic cleanup sites, left behind by past industry, pose another threat.

Almost two-thirds of some 1,500 superfund cleanup sites across the country are in areas with an elevated risk of flooding, storm surge, wildfires or sea level rise, a government audit warned in 2019. Coal ash, a toxic substance produced by coal power plants that is often stored as sludge in special ponds, have been particularly exposed. After Hurricane Florence in 2018, for example, a dam breach at the site of a power plant in Wilmington, N.C., released the hazardous ash into a nearby river.

“We should be evaluating whether these facilities or sites actually have to be moved or re-secured,” said Lisa Evans, senior counsel at Earthjustice, an environmental law organization. Places that “may have been OK in 1990,” she said, “may be a disaster waiting to happen in 2021.”

East Austin, Texas, during a blackout on Wednesday.  
Credit: Bronte Wittpenn/Austin American-Statesman, via Associated Press

Texas’s Power Crisis Has Turned Into a Disaster That Parallels Hurricane Katrina (TruthOut)

truthout.org

Sharon Zhang, Feb. 18, 2021


Propane tanks are placed in a line as people wait for the power to turn on to fill their tanks in Houston, Texas on February 17, 2021.
Propane tanks are placed in a line as people wait for the power to turn on to fill their tanks in Houston, Texas, on February 17, 2021. Mark Felix for The Washington Post via Getty Images

As many in Texas wake up still without power on Thursday morning, millions are now also having to contend with water shutdowns, boil advisories, and empty grocery shelves as cities struggle with keeping infrastructure powered and supply chains are interrupted.

As of estimates performed on Wednesday, 7 million Texans were under a boil advisory. Since then, Austin has also issued a citywide water-boil notice due to power loss at their biggest water treatment plant. Austin Water serves over a million customers, according to its website.

With hundreds of thousands of people still without power in the state, some contending that they have no water coming out of their faucets at all, and others facing burst pipes leading to collapsed ceilings and other damage to their homes, the situation is dire for many Texans facing multiple problems at once.

Even as some residents are getting their power restored, the problems are only continuing to layer as the only grocery stores left open were quickly selling out of food and supplies. As many without power watched their refrigerated food spoil, lines to get into stores wrapped around blocks and buildings and store shelves sat completely empty with no indication of when new shipments would be coming in. Food banks have had to cancel deliveries and schools to halt meal distribution to students, the Texas Tribune reports.

People experiencing homelessness, including a disproportionate number of Black residents, have especially suffered in the record cold temperatures across the state. There have been some reports of people being found dead in the streets because of a lack of shelter.

“Businesses are shut down. Streets are empty, other than a few guys sliding around in 4x4s and fire trucks rushing to rescue people who turn their ovens on to keep warm and poison themselves with carbon monoxide,” wrote Austin resident Jeff Goodell in Rolling Stone. “Yesterday, the line at our neighborhood grocery store was three blocks long. People wandering around with handguns on their hip adds to a sense of lawlessness (Texas is an open-carry state).”

The Texas agricultural commissioner has said that farmers and ranchers are having to throw away millions of dollars worth of goods because of a lack of power. “We’re looking at a food supply chain problem like we’ve never seen before, even with COVID-19,” he told one local news affiliate.

An energy analyst likened the power crisis to the fallout of Hurricane Katrina as it’s becoming increasingly clear that the situation in Texas is a statewide disaster.

As natural gas output declined dramatically in the state, Paul Sankey, who leads energy analyst firm Sankey Research, said on Bloomberg, “This situation to me is very reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina…. We have never seen a loss [of energy supply] at this scale” in mid-winter. This is “the biggest outage in the history [of] U.S. oil and gas,” Sankey said.

Many others online echoed Sankey’s words as “Katrina” trended on Twitter, saying that the situation is similar to the hurricane disaster in that it has been downplayed by politicians but may be uncovered to be even more serious in the coming weeks.

Experts say that the power outages have partially been caused by the deregulation of the state’s electric grid. The government, some say, favored deregulatory actions like not requiring electrical equipment upgrades or proper weatherization, instead relying on free market mechanisms that ultimately contributed to the current disaster.

Former Gov. Rick Perry faced criticism on Wednesday when he said that Texans would rather face the current disaster than have to be regulated by the federal government. And he’s not the only Republican currently catching heat — many have begun calling for the resignation of Gov. Greg Abbott for a failure of leadership. On Wednesday, as millions suffered without power and under boil-water advisories, the governor went on Fox to attack clean energy, which experts say was not a major contributor to the current crisis, and the Green New Deal.

After declaring a state of emergency in the state over the weekend, the Joe Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it would be sending generators and other supplies to the state.

The freeze in Texas exposes America’s infrastructural failings (The Economist)

economist.com

Feb 17th 2021

You ain’t foolin’ nobody with the lights out

WHEN IT RAINS, it pours, and when it snows, the lights turn off. Or so it goes in Texas. After a winter storm pummelled the Lone Star State with record snowfall and the lowest temperatures in more than 30 years, millions were left without electricity and heat. On February 16th 4.5m Texan households were cut off from power, as providers were overloaded with demand and tried to shuffle access to electricity so the whole grid did not go down.

Whole skylines, including Dallas’s, went dark to conserve power. Some Texans braved the snowy roads to check into the few hotels with remaining rooms, only for the hotels’ power to go off as they arrived. Others donned skiwear and remained inside, hoping the lights and heat would come back on. Across the state, what were supposed to be “rolling” blackouts lasted for days. It is still too soon to quantify the devastation. More than 20 people have died in motor accidents, from fires lit for warmth and from carbon-monoxide poisoning from using cars for heat. The storm has also halted deliveries of covid-19 vaccines and may prevent around 1m vaccinations from happening this week. Several retail electricity providers are likely to go bankrupt, after being hit with surging wholesale power prices.

Other states, including Tennessee, were also covered in snow, but Texas got the lion’s share and ground to a halt. Texans are rightly furious that residents of America’s energy capital cannot count on reliable power. Everyone is asking why.

The short answer is that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid, did not properly forecast the demand for energy as a result of the storm. Some say that this was nearly impossible to predict, but there were warnings of the severity of the coming weather in the preceding week, and ERCOT’s projections were notably short. Brownouts last summer had already demonstrated the grid’s lack of excess capacity, says George O’Leary of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & CO (TPH), an energy investment bank.

Many Republican politicians were quick to blame renewable energy sources, such as wind power, for the blackouts, but that is not fair. Some wind turbines did indeed freeze, but natural gas, which accounts for around half of the state’s electricity generation, was the primary source of the shortfall. Plants broke down, as did the gas supply chain and pipelines. The cold also caused a reactor at one of the state’s two nuclear plants to go offline. Transmission lines may have also iced up, says Wade Schauer of Wood Mackenzie, an energy-research firm. In short, Texas experienced a perfect storm.

Some of the blame falls on the unique design of the electricity market in Texas. Of America’s 48 contiguous states, it is the only one with its own stand-alone electricity grid—the Texas Interconnection. This means that when power generators fail, the state cannot import electricity from outside its borders.

The state’s deregulated power market is also fiercely competitive. ERCOT oversees the grid, while power generators produce electricity for the wholesale market. Some 300 retail electricity providers buy that fuel and then compete for consumers. Because such cold weather is rare, energy companies do not invest in “winterising” their equipment, as this would raise their prices for consumers. Perhaps most important, the state does not have a “capacity market”, which would ensure that there was extra power available for surging demand. This acts as a sort of insurance policy so the lights will not go out, but it also means customers pay higher bills.

For years the benefits of Texas’s deregulated market structure were clear. At 8.6 cents per kilowatt hour, the state’s average retail price for electricity is around one-fifth lower than the national average and about half the cost of California’s. In 1999 the state set targets for renewables, and today it accounts for around 30% of America’s wind energy.

This disaster is prompting people to question whether Texas’s system is as resilient and well-designed as people previously believed. Greg Abbott, the governor, has called for an investigation into ERCOT. This storm “has exposed some serious weaknesses in our free-market approach in Texas”, says Luke Metzger of Environment Texas, a non-profit, who had been without power for 54 hours when The Economist went to press.

Wholly redesigning the power grid in Texas seems unlikely. After the snow melts, the state will need to tackle two more straightforward questions. The first is whether it needs to increase reserve capacity. “If we impose a capacity market here and a bunch of new cap-ex is required to winterise equipment, who bears that cost? Ultimately it’s the customer,” says Bobby Tudor, chairman of TPH. The second is how Texas can ensure the reliability of equipment in extreme weather conditions. After a polar vortex in 2014 hit the east coast, PJM, a regional transmission organisation, started making higher payments based on reliability of service, says Michael Weinstein of Credit Suisse, a bank. In Texas there is no penalty for systems going down, except for public complaints and politicians’ finger-pointing.

Texas is hardly the only state to struggle with blackouts. California, which has a more tightly regulated power market, is regularly plunged into darkness during periods of high heat, winds and wildfires. Unlike Texas, much of northern California is dependent on a single utility, PG&E. The company has been repeatedly sued for dismal, dangerous management. But, as in Texas, critics have blamed intermittent renewable power for blackouts. In truth, California’s blackouts share many of the same causes as those in Texas: extreme weather, power generators that failed unexpectedly, poor planning by state regulators and an inability (in California, temporary) to import power from elsewhere. In California’s blackouts last year, solar output naturally declined in the evening. But gas plants also went offline and weak rainfall lowered the output of hydroelectric dams.

In California, as in Texas, it would help to have additional power generation, energy storage to meet peak demand and more resilient infrastructure, such as buried power lines and more long-distance, high-voltage transmission. Weather events that once might have been dismissed as unusual are becoming more common. Without more investment in electricity grids, blackouts will be, too.

A Glimpse of America’s Future: Climate Change Means Trouble for Power Grids (New York Times)

nytimes.com

Brad Plumer, Feb. 17, 2021


Systems are designed to handle spikes in demand, but the wild and unpredictable weather linked to global warming will very likely push grids beyond their limits.
A street in Austin, Texas, without power on Monday evening.
Credit: Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Published Feb. 16, 2021Updated Feb. 17, 2021, 6:59 a.m. ET

Huge winter storms plunged large parts of the central and southern United States into an energy crisis this week, with frigid blasts of Arctic weather crippling electric grids and leaving millions of Americans without power amid dangerously cold temperatures.

The grid failures were most severe in Texas, where more than four million people woke up Tuesday morning to rolling blackouts. Separate regional grids in the Southwest and Midwest also faced serious strain. As of Tuesday afternoon, at least 23 people nationwide had died in the storm or its aftermath.

Analysts have begun to identify key factors behind the grid failures in Texas. Record-breaking cold weather spurred residents to crank up their electric heaters and pushed power demand beyond the worst-case scenarios that grid operators had planned for. At the same time, a large fraction of the state’s gas-fired power plants were knocked offline amid icy conditions, with some plants suffering fuel shortages as natural gas demand spiked. Many of Texas’ wind turbines also froze and stopped working.

The crisis sounded an alarm for power systems throughout the country. Electric grids can be engineered to handle a wide range of severe conditions — as long as grid operators can reliably predict the dangers ahead. But as climate change accelerates, many electric grids will face extreme weather events that go far beyond the historical conditions those systems were designed for, putting them at risk of catastrophic failure.

While scientists are still analyzing what role human-caused climate change may have played in this week’s winter storms, it is clear that global warming poses a barrage of additional threats to power systems nationwide, including fiercer heat waves and water shortages.

Measures that could help make electric grids more robust — such as fortifying power plants against extreme weather, or installing more backup power sources — could prove expensive. But as Texas shows, blackouts can be extremely costly, too. And, experts said, unless grid planners start planning for increasingly wild and unpredictable climate conditions, grid failures will happen again and again.

“It’s essentially a question of how much insurance you want to buy,” said Jesse Jenkins, an energy systems engineer at Princeton University. “What makes this problem even harder is that we’re now in a world where, especially with climate change, the past is no longer a good guide to the future. We have to get much better at preparing for the unexpected.”

Texas’ main electric grid, which largely operates independently from the rest of the country, has been built with the state’s most common weather extremes in mind: soaring summer temperatures that cause millions of Texans to turn up their air-conditioners all at once.

While freezing weather is rarer, grid operators in Texas have also long known that electricity demand can spike in the winter, particularly after damaging cold snaps in 2011 and 2018. But this week’s winter storms, which buried the state in snow and ice, and led to record-cold temperatures, surpassed all expectations — and pushed the grid to its breaking point.

Residents of East Dallas trying to warm up on Monday after their family home lost power.
Credit: Juan Figueroa/The Dallas Morning News, via Associated Press

Texas’ grid operators had anticipated that, in the worst case, the state would use 67 gigawatts of electricity during the winter peak. But by Sunday evening, power demand had surged past that level. As temperatures dropped, many homes were relying on older, inefficient electric heaters that consume more power.

The problems compounded from there, with frigid weather on Monday disabling power plants with capacity totaling more than 30 gigawatts. The vast majority of those failures occurred at thermal power plants, like natural gas generators, as plummeting temperatures paralyzed plant equipment and soaring demand for natural gas left some plants struggling to obtain sufficient fuel. A number of the state’s power plants were also offline for scheduled maintenance in preparation for the summer peak.

The state’s fleet of wind farms also lost up to 4.5 gigawatts of capacity at times, as many turbines stopped working in cold and icy conditions, though this was a smaller part of the problem.

In essence, experts said, an electric grid optimized to deliver huge quantities of power on the hottest days of the year was caught unprepared when temperatures plummeted.

While analysts are still working to untangle all of the reasons behind Texas’ grid failures, some have also wondered whether the unique way the state manages its largely deregulated electricity system may have played a role. In the mid-1990s, for instance, Texas decided against paying energy producers to hold a fixed number of backup power plants in reserve, instead letting market forces dictate what happens on the grid.

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott called for an emergency reform of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the nonprofit corporation that oversees the flow of power in the state, saying its performance had been “anything but reliable” over the previous 48 hours.

In theory, experts said, there are technical solutions that can avert such problems.

Wind turbines can be equipped with heaters and other devices so that they can operate in icy conditions — as is often done in the upper Midwest, where cold weather is more common. Gas plants can be built to store oil on-site and switch over to burning the fuel if needed, as is often done in the Northeast, where natural gas shortages are common. Grid regulators can design markets that pay extra to keep a larger fleet of backup power plants in reserve in case of emergencies, as is done in the Mid-Atlantic.

But these solutions all cost money, and grid operators are often wary of forcing consumers to pay extra for safeguards.

“Building in resilience often comes at a cost, and there’s a risk of both underpaying but also of overpaying,” said Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University. “It’s a difficult balancing act.”

In the months ahead, as Texas grid operators and policymakers investigate this week’s blackouts, they will likely explore how the grid might be bolstered to handle extremely cold weather. Some possible ideas include: Building more connections between Texas and other states to balance electricity supplies, a move the state has long resisted; encouraging homeowners to install battery backup systems; or keeping additional power plants in reserve.

The search for answers will be complicated by climate change. Over all, the state is getting warmer as global temperatures rise, and cold-weather extremes are, on average, becoming less common over time.

But some climate scientists have also suggested that global warming could, paradoxically, bring more unusually fierce winter storms. Some research indicates that Arctic warming is weakening the jet stream, the high-level air current that circles the northern latitudes and usually holds back the frigid polar vortex. This can allow cold air to periodically escape to the South, resulting in episodes of bitter cold in places that rarely get nipped by frost.

ImageCredit: Jacob Ford/Odessa American, via Associated Press

But this remains an active area of debate among climate scientists, with some experts less certain that polar vortex disruptions are becoming more frequent, making it even trickier for electricity planners to anticipate the dangers ahead.

All over the country, utilities and grid operators are confronting similar questions, as climate change threatens to intensify heat waves, floods, water shortages and other calamities, all of which could create novel risks for the nation’s electricity systems. Adapting to those risks could carry a hefty price tag: One recent study found that the Southeast alone may need 35 percent more electric capacity by 2050 simply to deal with the known hazards of climate change.

And the task of building resilience is becoming increasingly urgent. Many policymakers are promoting electric cars and electric heating as a way of curbing greenhouse gas emissions. But as more of the nation’s economy depends on reliable flows of electricity, the cost of blackouts will become ever more dire.

“This is going to be a significant challenge,” said Emily Grubert, an infrastructure expert at Georgia Tech. “We need to decarbonize our power systems so that climate change doesn’t keep getting worse, but we also need to adapt to changing conditions at the same time. And the latter alone is going to be very costly. We can already see that the systems we have today aren’t handling this very well.”

John Schwartz, Dave Montgomery and Ivan Penn contributed reporting.

America’s huge stimulus is having surprising effects on the poor (The Economist)

Though severe deprivation is rising, not everyone is worse off.

Jul 6th 2020

NO ONE WELCOMES a recession, but downturns are especially difficult when you are poor. Rising unemployment means rising poverty: the recession of 2007-09 prompted the share of Americans classified as poor, on a widely used measure, to jump from 12% to 17%, as jobs vanished by the million and businesses went bust. That economic shock, as bad as it was, pales in comparison with what America is seeing today under the coronavirus pandemic. The jobs report for June, published on July 2nd, showed that unemployment remained well above the peak of a decade ago.

Severe deprivation is certainly on the rise. According to a new survey from the Census Bureau, since the pandemic began the share of Americans who “sometimes” or “often” do not have enough to eat has grown by two percentage points, representing some 4m households. An astonishing 20% of African-American households with children are now in this position. Meanwhile, the proportion of Americans saying that they are able to make the rent is falling. More people are typing “bankrupt” into Google.

Yet these trends, as shocking as they are, do not appear to be part of a generalised rise in poverty. The official data will not be available for some time. A new paper from economists at the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame, however, suggests that poverty, as measured on an annual basis, may have actually fallen a bit in April and May, continuing a trend seen in the months before the pandemic hit (see chart 1).

Why? The main reason is that fiscal policy is helping to push poverty down. The stimulus plan passed by Congress is twice the size of the one passed to fight the recession of a decade ago. Much of it, including cheques worth up to $1,200 for a single person and a $600-a-week increase in unemployment insurance (UI) for those out of work, is focused on helping households through the lockdowns. At the same time, unemployment now looks unlikely to rise to 25% or higher, as some economists had predicted in the early days of the pandemic, thereby exerting less upward pressure on poverty than had been feared.

The upshot is that the current downturn looks different from previous ones. Household income usually falls during a recession—as it did the last time, pushing up poverty. But a paper in mid-June from Goldman Sachs, a bank, suggests that this year nominal household disposable income will actually increase by about 4%, pretty much in line with its growth rate before the pandemic hit (see chart 2). The extra $600 in UI ensures, in theory, that three-quarters of job losers will earn more on benefits than they had done in work.

By international standards, America’s unexpected success at reducing poverty nonetheless remains modest. Practically every other rich country has a lower poverty rate. It is also a fragile accomplishment. The extra $600-a-week payments are supposed to expire at the end of July. The authors of a recent paper from Columbia University argue that poverty could rise sharply in the second half of the year, a valid concern if unemployment has not decisively fallen by then. Goldman’s paper assumes that Congress will extend the extra unemployment insurance, but for the value of the payment to drop to $300. Even then, household disposable income would probably fall next year.

Whether extra stimulus would help those at the very bottom of America’s socio-economic ladder—including people not able to buy sufficient food—is another question. Six per cent of adults do not have a current (checking), savings or money-market account, making it difficult for them to receive money from Uncle Sam. Some may have been caught up in the delays which have plagued the UI system, and a small number may be undocumented immigrants not entitled to fiscal help at all. Others report not being able to gain access to shops, presumably closed under lockdowns. A surefire way to improve the lot of people in such unfortunate positions is to get the virus under control and the economy firing on all cylinders once again. But, for now, that looks some way off.

Coronavírus: Médicos defendem ‘abordagem cirúrgica’ em vez de lockdown indefinido (Brazil Journal)

Geraldo Samor e Pedro Arbex – 22.03.2020


Thomas Friedman, um dos colunistas mais influentes do mundo, ouviu três médicos e escreveu o artigo mais contundente até agora sobre o risco do lockdown global se estender por muito tempo.

No texto, publicado hoje à tarde no The New York Times, Friedman nota que os políticos estão tendo que tomar “decisões enormes de vida ou morte, enquanto atravessam uma neblina com informação imperfeita e todo mundo no banco de trás gritando com eles. Eles estão fazendo o melhor que podem.”

Mas com o desemprego se alastrando pelo mundo tão rápido quanto o vírus, “alguns especialistas estão começando a questionar: ‘Espera um minuto! O que estamos fazendo com nós mesmos? Com nossa economia? Com a próxima geração? Será que essa cura — mesmo que por um período curto — será pior que a doença?’”

Friedman diz que as lideranças políticas estão ouvindo o conselho de epidemiologistas sérios e especialistas em saúde pública. Ainda assim, ele diz que o mundo tem que ter cuidado com o “pensamento de grupo” e que até “pequenas escolhas erradas podem ter grandes consequências.”

Para ele, a questão é como podemos ser mais cirúrgicos na resposta ao vírus de forma a manter a letalidade baixa e ao mesmo tempo permitir que as pessoas voltem ao trabalho o mais cedo possível e com segurança.

Friedman diz que “se a minha caixa de email for alguma indicação, uma reação mais inteligente está começando a brotar.”

Ele cita um artigo publicado semana passada pelo Dr. John P. A. Ioannidis, um epidemiologista e co-diretor do Centro de Inovação em Meta-Pesquisa de Stanford. No artigo, Ioannidis diz que a comunidade científica ainda não sabe exatamente qual é a taxa de mortalidade do coronavírus. Segundo ele, “as evidências disponíveis hoje indicam que a letalidade pode ser de 1% ou ainda menor.”

“Se essa for a taxa verdadeira, paralisar o mundo todo com implicações financeiras e sociais potencialmente tremendas pode ser totalmente irracional. É como um elefante sendo atacado por um gato doméstico. Frustrado e tentando fugir do gato, o elefante acidentalmente pula do penhasco e morre.”

Friedman também cita o Dr. Steven Woolf, diretor emérito do Centro Sobre a Sociedade e Saúde da Universidade da Virgínia, para quem o lockdown “pode ser necessário para conter a transmissão comunitária, mas pode prejudicar a saúde de outras formas, custando vidas.”

“Imagine um paciente com dor no peito ou sofrendo um derrame — casos em que a rapidez de resposta é essencial para salvar vidas — hesitando em chamar o serviço de emergência por medo de pegar coronavírus. Ou um paciente de câncer tendo que adiar sua quimioterapia porque a clínica está fechada.”

Friedman complementa: “Imagine o estresse e a doença mental que virá — já está vindo — de termos fechado a economia, gerando desemprego em massa.”

Woolf, o médico da Virgínia, afirma no artigo que a renda é uma das variáveis mais fortes a afetar a saúde e a longevidade. “Os pobres, que já sofrem há gerações com taxas de mortalidade mais altas, serão os mais prejudicados e provavelmente os que receberão menos ajuda. São as camareiras dos hotéis fechados e as famílias sem opções quando o transporte público fecha.”

Há outro caminho?, pergunta Friedman.

Para ele, a melhor ideia até agora veio do Dr. David Katz, diretor do Centro de Prevenção e Pesquisa da Universidade de Yale e um especialista em saúde pública e medicina preventiva.

Num artigo publicado sexta-feira no The New York Times, o Dr. Katz diz que há três objetivos neste momento: salvar tantas vidas quanto possível, garantindo que o sistema de saúde não entre em colapso, “mas também garantir que no processo de atingir os dois primeiros objetivos não destruamos nossa economia e, como resultado disso, ainda mais vidas.”

Como fazer isso?

Katz diz que o mundo tem que pivotar da estratégia de “interdição horizontal” que estamos empregando agora — restringindo o movimento e o comércio de toda a população, sem considerar a variância no risco de infecção severa — para uma estratégia mais “cirúrgica”, ou de “interdição vertical”.

“A abordagem cirúrgica e vertical focaria em proteger e isolar os que correm maior risco de morrer ou sofrer danos de longo prazo — isto é, os idosos, pessoas com doenças crônicas e com baixa imunidade — e tratar o resto da sociedade basicamente da mesma forma que sempre lidamos com ameaças mais familiares como a gripe.”

Katz sugere que o isolamento atual dure duas semanas, em vez de um período indefinido. Para os infectados, os sintomas aparecerão nesse período. “Aqueles que tiverem uma infecção sintomática devem se auto-isolar em seguida, com ou sem testes, que é exatamente o que fazemos com a gripe. Quem não estiver sintomático e fizer parte da população de baixo risco deveria voltar ao trabalho ou a escola depois daquelas duas semanas.”

“O efeito rejuvenescedor na alma humana e na economia — de saber que existe luz no fim do túnel — é difícil de superestimar. O risco não será zero, mas o risco de acontecer algo ruim com qualquer um de nós em qualquer dia da nossa vida nunca é zero.”

SAIBA MAIS

O custo econômico do shutdown global (e a busca por alternativas)

Texto original

Autonomous Groups Are Mobilizing Mutual Aid Initiatives to Combat the Coronavirus (It’s Going Down)

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Donate to IGD March 14

It's Going Down

In the span of just a few weeks, the coronavirus has completely changed life as we know it, while also exposing the vast array of contradictions firmly entrenched within capitalist society. America has been laid bare as to what it always has been, a settler-colonial project that is the sole property of those who own it, as John Jay, one of the ‘Foun ding Fathers’ once argued. In the face of this disaster, Trump has predictably doubled down on painting the pandemic with a xenophobic brush as his supporters use it as yet another excuse to push half-baked conspiracy theories in order to defend the dumpster fire that is his administration. Meanwhile, outside of the gaze of neoliberal TV pundits who now pander to studios with empty audiences, across the so-called United States, autonomous groups are mobilizing to provide mutual aid to their neighbors and those hit the hardest by the exploding virus.

From Pandemic to Class War

For millions of poor and working people, life in this country is going to change – and change very quickly. Already, many companies are starting to lay off workers as the economy slows and things begin to shut down. Low wage workers, many already living just on the edge of eviction and homelessness, now find themselves with even less money coming in and with young children, recently forced out of school, to watch and feed.

In many ways, the coronavirus has accelerated all of the trajectories of modern capitalism that have hurdled us towards our current position: rapidly gentrifying cities, automation and the gig economy displacing workers into precarious forms of employment, the rising cost of living, and lack of access to affordable healthcare, education, and daycare for children. To make matters worse, soon the US will be rocked by a flood of very sick people attempting to access a broken health care system that is unprepared to handle a wide-scale pandemic.

Already there are signs of growing anger. Students in Ohio rioted after police attempted to push them off the streets following a 24-hour eviction notice at their campus in Dayton and students at MIT protested when they were forced to leave as well; some with no idea as to where they would go. Fiat auto workers in Canada walked off the job over coronavirus concerns and fast food workers across the US have picketed and demanded paid sick-leave.

In the face of this growing class anger which threatens to boil over into a potentially insurrectionary wave, elites have already begun to loosen a few chains out of fear. From talks of a stimulus package, to a moratorium on paying interest on student loans, police suspending arrests for minor offenses and scaling back patrols in general, the push to release non-violent offenders, AT&T ending the cap on data, the suspension of evictions in many cities, and Detroit turning water back on to residents who have unpaid bills. In short, poor and working people everywhere should recognize that those in power – are afraid.

Seize the Time

In this moment, everyday people have to seize the initiative and get organized; before a new normal takes hold and the State can re-solidify its authority. The Trump administration will try and do this through blunt violence and police orders, as already the national guard is streaming into various cities. Democrats and the neoliberal media on the other hand will push for the country to “come together” behind Joe Biden – assuming that the November 2020 elections even are held.

If poor and working people see within the coronavirus not only a pandemic that will possibly leave in its wake a massive death count, but also the very real crisis that is modern industrial capitalism, then we must mobilize for our own interests, push back, and actually fight. This means demanding not only bread and butter: free housing, access to food, an end to evictions, and clean water: but also building new human relationships, new forms of actual life. This means creating ways of meeting our needs, making decisions, and organizing ourselves and solving problems outside of the State structure and the capitalist system.

Towards this end, we are encouraged by the explosion of grassroots and autonomous mutual aid projects that are springing up across the US. Not since the early stages of the Occupy Movement have we seen this growth of spontaneous mobilization in the face of a crisis. These efforts must continue to organize themselves, grow, network, and deepen their connections within working-class and poor neighborhoods.

What follows is both a collection of resources and links, as well as a list of active mutual aid projects that are currently mobilizing in the face of the coronavirus. We are also including a short reading list, and information on how to participate in phone-zap campaigns in support of prisoners and migrant detainees.

To have your group or mutual aid project listed, email us at: info [at] itsgoingdown [dot] org

Prisoner and Migrant Detention Phone-Zaps

Organizing and DIY Resources

Organizing Guide

Pacific Northwest

Washington:

  • Puget Sound COV-19 Mutual Aid: Seattle based collective well-being through class solidarity, disability justice, anti-racism, abolition. Resource guide here. Donate here. Instagram.
  • Tacoma Mutual Aid Collective: Tacoma Mutual Aid Collective works in solidarity with Tacoma communities to support resource, knowledge, and skill sharing across our neighborhoods. Currently organizing free food programs for kids hit by school closures and beyond. Support via PayPal. Grocery program sign-up form.
  • Olympia Mutual Aid: We are coordinating food and supply drop offs to people’s front doors. Please use this form if you would like to help make deliveries. Facebook.
  • Common Stash: Mutual Aid in So-Called Olympia: We are not afraid of sickness—many of us are already sick, and those of us who are not yet sick will one day become unwell. But we are afraid of not getting cared for, of not getting what we need and of those we love not getting what they need, so we are coming together, collecting and redistributing herbal remedies, over the counter cough medication, and other supplies to our friends and neighbors. Instagram.

Oregon:

  • Portland-area COVID-19 “Offer Support”: We are an all-volunteer grassroots group operating in the territories of the many tribes who have made their homes near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, including Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin, Kalapuya, Molalla.  Instagram and Facebook.
  • Portland Coronavirus Mutual Aid Fund: We are currently forming a coalition of groups to coordinate grassroots response to the coronavirus.
  • South Willamette Valley Mutual Aid Network: As things get harder, we show up for our neighbors. We advocate collective liberation through class solidarity, disability justice, anti-racism, abolition, and horizontal mutual aid as we reside on stolen Kalapuya land. We are trying to build a network of many neighborhood pods across Lane County. Instagram. Facebook.

Bay Area & Northern California

California:

  • West Oakland Punks With Lunch: Oakland based nonprofit, non religious, DIY organization that hands out lunches, harm reduction supplies, and more to our neighbors in West Oakland. Works largely with houseless community. Instagram.
  • People’s Breakfast Oakland: Free Breakfast and community outreach program in Oakland. Donate here.
  • South Bay Area Mutual Aid: We are coordinating food and supply drop offs to people’s front doors during the COVID-19 quarantine.
  • SF Bay Area: The idea behind this is to crowd source some mutual aid for folks in the SF Bay Area, who are affected by Covid-19 or the current situation.
  • East Bay Disabled Folks: Are you a disabled person (especially prioritizing BIPOC) in the East Bay needing extra support re COVID19?
  • Berkeley Mutual Aid Network: Board for people needing help and those in need.
  • Monterey Peninsula Aid: Please fill out this form if you live on the Monterey Peninsula and have specific needs due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Also use this form to indicate that you can help provide for the needs of other people.
  • Pandemic Solidarity Support: Chico mutual aid coordination.

Southwest

California:

  • Los Angeles Mutual Aid: Ground Game LA is an all-volunteer grassroots group operating in Los Angeles, connected with multiple coalition partners throughout LA. Mutual aid resources and links.
  • Mutual Aid Los Angeles Fundraiser: Mutual Aid Action Los Angeles (M.A.A.L.A.) would like your support to continue our work and keep growing. We are committed to providing a wide range of services and support to anyone who comes through our doors and beyond. We practice Mutual Aid to live our solidarity.
  • Los Angeles Mutual Aid Fund: Providing mutual aid to communities in need of supplies such as drinks, food, sanitary products, clothing, and other things needed. We feel it’s up to us to provide for our communities and we must come together in solidarity in times of crisis. Any amount of donations will help and we thank you for your support!
  • Mutual Aid San Diego: We will be sharing this list with trusted groups doing mutual aid in San Diego, county-wide, who are organizing mutual aid. We will not use or share the info you provide for any other purpose.

Nevada:

  • Las Vegas Mutual Aid: Please fill out this form if you are in the Las Vegas area and are interested in offering support to people impacted by COVID-19 *OR* are requesting support for yourself/a family member.

Utah:

New Mexico:

  • Albuquerque Mutual Aid: In Response to COVID-19, we’re organizing mutual aid to respond to those that are often not included in conversations about public health.
  • Santa Fe Mutual Aid: Times seem really wild and unpredictable right now and we can isolate and hoard or possibly find a way to stay in community and help each other out. Safe distancing is important, but so is solidarity.

Arizona:

  • Tucson Mutual Aid: We are coordinating food and supply drop offs to people’s front doors. Please use this form if you would like to help make deliveries. Thank you!! This is a live document that will continue to change and update as we move forward.

Central

Nebraska:

  • Lincoln/Omaha Mutual Aid: This group is intended to be a forum for people to request and offer help specific to needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic in our area.

Montana:

  • Bozeman Solidarity: The volunteer will drop off the items outside of the residence, in an effort to reduce exposure.
  • Missoula Mutual Aid: In Missoula, we have created a COVID19 Community Organizing group, which aims to organize material support. Immediately we are providing grocery and supply deliveries. We are preparing to expand this to running errands, dog walking, childcare, caregiving, and mental/emotional support among people impacted by the pandemic. Donate here.

Colorado:

  • Front Range Mutual Aid: Front Range Mutual Aid Network is setting up a distribution network to get supplies to people who need them during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Northern Colorado Mutual Aid and Defense: Northern Colorado Community Mutual Aid and Defense is organizing a supplies distribution service and will get your overstock to people who need it in the Greeley/Evans area. Facebook. Donate here.
  • Aurora Mutual Aid: A group of out of work librarians have come together to create an emergency supply kit distribution group for the elderly or families with children out of school. We have created kits that include: pasta, rice, sauce, seasonings, canned tuna, canned chicken, canned veggies, fruit cups, cookies, oatmeal, handsoap, bar soap, and toilet paper. We are targeting the North Aurora community which is our own community and are hoping to start distributing starting this morning. What we aim to do is we have set up a hotline number for those in need to call and we will drop off supply kits at the door step so they don’t have to leave the house. Call: 720-477-0406. Email: AllHandsOnDeckAurora@gmail.com
  • Denver Service Worker Solidarity: Many of us can not afford to miss a single shift, much less a month and a half of shifts. We need to demand an immediate moratorium on rent collection and evictions, city wide. Alone we are weak, but together we can stand strong and assure that we all make it through this difficult time, together. More details will follow, but it is important that we get our network started IMMEDIATELY. Please share this post far and wide. Bartenders, Servers, Chefs, everyone in this industry: Y’all are some of the baddest motherfuckers in the world. Let’s go!

Texas:

Midwest

Ohio:

Illinois:

  • Chicago Mutual Aid Volunteers: This list is being compiled to share with groups that are doing mutual aid work around COVID-19 in Chicago.
  • Brave Space Alliance: Brave Space Alliance will be operating a crisis food pantry for queer and trans folks on the south side of Chicago during the pandemic.
  • Rockford Mutual Aid Volunteers: This is for members of the Rockford community to offer skills, resources, supplies, space and time to community members who are affected by COVID – 19 and those most vulnerable among us. Facebook.

Indiana:

  • Bloomington Mutual Aid: Are you homebound and in need of help getting access to groceries and other supplies? For your friends and neighbors who are homebound and quarantined, are you willing to help make grocery deliveries and supply runs? Spreadsheet.

Michigan:

  • Kalamazoo: This list is being compiled by Kzoo Covid-19 Mutual Aid to share with groups that are doing mutual aid work around COVID-19 in Kalamazoo.
  • Grand Rapids Mutual Aid: Grand Rapids Area Mutual Aid Network is a hub for folks to share resources to keep each other safe and healthy. Facebook.
  • Huron Valley Mutual Aid: This group is for the purposes of sharing resources, needs, and info about mutual aid work that people are doing at this time.
  • Lansing Mutual Aid: Online hub for various resources.
  • The Mutual Aid Network of Ypsilanti: We believe that as a community we are stronger when we work together to help each other out. Our purpose is to help facilitate as much cooperation and aid as possible. Particularly focusing on the most impacted and marginalized members of our community.

Minnesota:

  • Twin Cities Queer and Trans Mutual Aid: The idea behind this is to crowd source some mutual aid for queer/trans/nonbinary folks in the Twin Cities area, who are affected by Covid-19 or the current situation.
  • Twin Cities Mutual Aid: Add yourself to a list of people willing to help each other in case of quarantine or self isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This information will be used to reach out of interested individuals willing to provide assistance if needed.

Wisconsin:

Missouri:

  • St. Louis Mutual Aid: Communities are safer and stronger when its members check in on one another and pitch in in whatever ways they can. This concept is called mutual aid.

Southeast

Tennessee:

North Carolina:

  • Chapel Hill Food Not Bombs: Offering to-go food on Saturdays at Nightlight in Chapel Hill. 430-530pm.
    Along with hygiene products, cleaning supplies, harm reduction. Offering delivery & drive up service. Everything is free. No questions asked. Email: foodnotbombs919@gmail.com. Instagram.
  • Mutual Aid Carrboro: In the coming weeks, potentially millions of workers will be sent home without pay. For the most precarious, that could mean evictions, utility shut-offs, missed payments, and other economic catastrophes. That’s why Mutual Aid Carrboro is partnering with NC Piedmont DSA to create the COVID-19 Mutual Aid Relief Fund. Donate here.
  • Surry County Mutual Aid Network: Our goal is to help get needed supplies to people to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 into Surry County NC.
  • Asheville Survival Program: In any kind of crisis we are always strongest when we work together. We can overcome our fears and the urge to isolate and hoard, to instead be part of a meaningful community wide response. Information sharing is a critical first step, from there we can work together as neighbors and friends to ensure everyone has what we need.

Atlanta:

  • Food 4 Life: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, we are operating a grocery delivery program in Atlanta, Georgia to ensure that those impacted by the virus will not be forced to choose between decent food and their health. Food is a human right, we must help each other! Donate here. Website.
  • Atlanta Mutual Aid: Students at Emory, Morehouse, Spelman, and Georgia State are facing removal and even eviction from their dorms in the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Many students, such as international, LGBTQIA+, and out-of-state students do not have an immediate place to move to or store their belongings. Tens of thousands of students are being displaced and are in immediate need of resources and support.

Washington DC:

  • Takoma DC Community Care and Mutual Aid: Times that are potentially scary require us to better support one another. In the same way that we bring casseroles to grieving families and baby clothes to celebrate newborns, we can come together as a community to help each other through this difficult time.
  • East River Mutual Aid Fund: In the wake of the COVID-19, the people of D.C. are mobilizing to launch and expand real grassroots mutual aid efforts. Facebook. Spreadsheet.

Alabama:

  • Birmingham Mutual Aid: In these fast moving and uncertain times, it’s important to show up for each other and remember that we are not alone. Mutual aid is a powerful way to build strong connections – we all have something to offer and we all have something we need.

Kentucky:

  • Lexington Mutual Aid: We are building a network of people who can support their neighbors through mutual aid in Lexington, Kentucky.
  • Louisville Mutual Aid: We are building a network of people who can support their neighbors through mutual aid in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Kentucky Mutual Aid: With the current uncertainty, it’s important that no one falls through the cracks. Facebook.
  • Youth Mutual Aid Fund: For young folks in Kentucky and Appalachia experiencing income loss or food and housing insecurity due to COVID-19. We’re also providing social events and general trainings to keep folks busy via video and phone calls and are available to chat with folks who are looking for social connection and need help finding resources. In the next few weeks, we’ll be expanding to ensure young folks get fair treatment from universities. Donate here.

Arkansas:

  • Mutual Aid Northwest Arkansas: We are building a network of folks who can support their neighbors through mutual aid in Northwest Arkansas.
  • Free Store Pantry in Fayetteville, Arkansas: A working food bank at 647 W. Dickson St. in Fayetteville AR. as the ongoing COVID-19 crisis continues. All donations will be to help those who do not have the means or access to food.

.@DSA_of_NWA has opened out emergency mutual aid pantry for the #COVID19US pandemic pic.twitter.com/eIypIzsQdh

— Blanca Estevez (@best__ev) March 13, 2020

Louisiana:

  • New Orleans Mutual Aid: As the city and country shuts down over the coming days and weeks, it is crucial that we build robust mutual aid networks that can support the elderly, the immunocompromised and the vast group of hospitality workers who have no safety net. Instagram.
  • Bvlbancha Collective: If you are local to the Bvlbancha area and you or a neighbor could benefit from fresh garden herbs, or plant medicines, pls contact us through email or the contact us portion of our page!!! We have herbs for immune-boosting, respiratory health, lymphatic support & working with fevers. Fresh & dried herbs for teas & steams, syrups, & some tinctures on hand. We also have a limited supply of stress relief herbs/elixirs. And more brewing right now. Plus, everything in stock from our website. No one will be declined due to lack of funds as long as we have supplies on hand. We are happy to do porch/mailbox drops as time allows. Also, we have homemade hand sanitizer! Pls, don’t hesitate to reach out! We’re in this together!

Florida:

  • Tampa Mutual Aid: In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, Tampa Dream Defenders and Mutual Aid Disaster Relief are partnering to support the most vulnerable in our community.

Northeast

Maryland:

  • Mutual Aid and Emergency Relief Fund: Food, Clothing & Resistance Collective – Maroon Movement is doing a mutual aid & emergency relief fundraising drive, and pop-up distributions, for anyone who may need some “extra assistance” to stock up food, toiletries and medical supplies in Baltimore during this still very early stage of an emerging pandemic (Covid-19), in the middle of another pandemic (Influenza). Twitter.
  • Baltimore Mutual Aid: Spreadsheet hub for mutual aid in Baltimore, Maryland.

Pennsylvania:

  • Pitt Mutual Aid: We‘re a team of student leaders dedicated to providing up-to-date information and resources for the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out our resource guide here.
  • Neighbors Helping Neighbors: We are simply neighbors helping neighbors. The aid provided comes from community support and solidarity thus we cannot guarantee to meet each request but we will be trying our best to do so . We are not funded, we are not a government or medical agency, we are simply neighbors connecting neighbors to neighbors who can help (and we happen to be organizers). Facebook.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors in Philadelphia

Massachusetts:

  • Mutual Aid Medford and Somerville: In these fast moving and uncertain times, it’s important that we show up for each other and remember that we are not alone. Facebook.
  • Charles River Mutual Aid: We will be pooling funds in a Mutual Aid Fund to purchase food, medical supplies, and other necessities, and organizing to provide these resources to the community.
  • Tufts Mutual Aid: Tufts is closing due to COVID-19, and are compiling resources for students who need it. Fill out the form if you have resources to give, and reach out to those who have resources you need!
  • Solidarity Supply Distro: Solidarity Supply Distro is a coalition of leftist and anti-capitalist organizers in Boston who are building community resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic. Donate here. Facebook.

Rhode Island:

New Jersey:

  • Central New Jersey: This form originally was asking for volunteers too, but we have enough for now! We’ll ask for more as requests come in.
  • North New Jersey Mutual Aid: This group is for the purposes of sharing resources, needs, and info about mutual aid work that people are doing at this time. Facebook.

New York:

  • Friends of Westcott Mutual Aid Group: Many of us in Westcott (Syracuse, NY) are looking for ways to help those in our neighborhood who may be affected by Covid-19. Some people in our community may have health risks. Others may be financially affected due to social distancing. This includes employees at the several businesses in our neighborhood that rely on people going out to eat and drink.
  • NYC United Against the Coronavirus: Massive collection of mutual aid projects and resources throughout the New York area. Includes many localized mutual aid groups.
  • NYC Mutual Aid Network: Mutual aid is a powerful way to build strong connections – we all have something to offer and we all have something we need.

Vermont:

  • Mutual Aid Hubs in Vermont: These Mutual Aid links each consist of a spreadsheet with multiple tabs for different categories of need (food, transportation, housing, emotional support, etc) and are specific to different regions of Vermont.

New Hampshire:

Canada

Reading List

The Coronavirus Called America’s Bluff (The Atlantic)

Like Japan in the mid-1800s, the United States now faces a crisis that disproves everything the country believes about itself. March 15, 2020

Anne Applebaum Staff writer at The Atlantic

A coronavirus patient in quarantine
Jason Redmond / Reuters

On July 8, 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S. Navy sailed into Tokyo Bay with two steamships and two sailing vessels under his command. He landed a squadron of heavily armed sailors and marines; he moved one of the ships ostentatiously up the harbor, so that more people could see it. He delivered a letter from President Millard Fillmore demanding that the Japanese open up their ports to American trade. As they left, Perry’s fleets fired their guns into the ether. In the port, people were terrified: “It sounded like distant thunder,” a contemporary diarist wrote at the time, “and the mountains echoed back the noise of the shots. This was so formidable that the people in Edo [modern Tokyo] were fearful.”

This is the story of an unnatural disaster.

But the noise was not the only thing that frightened the Japanese. The Perry expedition famously convinced them that their political system was incapable of coping with new kinds of threats. Secure in their island homeland, the rulers of Japan had been convinced for decades of their cultural superiority. Japan was unique, special, the homeland of the gods. “Japan’s position, at the vertex of the earth, makes it the standard for the nations of the world,” the nationalist thinker Aizawa Seishisai wrote nearly three decades before Perry’s arrival. But the steamships and the guns changed all that. Suddenly, the Japanese realized that their culture, their political system, and their technology were out of date. Their samurai-warrior leaders and honor culture were not able to compete in a world dominated by science.

The coronavirus pandemic is in its early days. But the scale and force of the economic and medical crisis that is about to hit the United States may turn out to be as formidable as Perry’s famous voyage was. Two weeks ago—it already seems like an infinity—I was in Italy, writing about the first signs of the virus. Epidemics, I wrote, “have a way of revealing underlying truths about the societies they impact.” This one has already done so, and with terrifying speed. What it reveals about the United States—not just this administration, but also our health-care system, our bureaucracy, our political system itself—should make Americans as fearful as the Japanese who heard the “distant thunder” of Perry’s guns.

Not everybody has yet realized this, and indeed, it will take some time, just as it has taken time for the nature of the virus to sink in. At the moment, many Americans are still convinced that, even in this crisis, our society is more capable than others. Quite a lot was written about the terrifying and reckless behavior of the authorities in Wuhan, China, who initially threatened doctors who began posting information about the new virus, forcing them into silence.

On the very day that one of those doctors, Li Wenliang, contracted the virus, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issued a statement declaring,“So far no infection [has been] found among medical staff, no proof of human-to-human transmission.” Only three weeks after the initial reports were posted did authorities begin to take the spread of the disease seriously, confirming that human-to-human transmission had in fact occurred. And only three days later did the lockdown of the city, and eventually the entire province, actually begin.

This story has been told repeatedly—and correctly—as an illustration of what’s wrong with the Chinese system: The secrecy and mania for control inside the Communist Party lost the government many days during which it could have put a better plan into place. But many of those recounting China’s missteps have become just a little bit too smug.

The United States also had an early warning of the new virus—but it, too, suppressed that information. In late January, just as instances of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, began to appear in the United States, an infectious-disease specialist in Seattle, Helen Y. Chu, realized that she had a way to monitor its presence. She had been collecting nasal swabs from people in and around Seattle as part of a flu study, and proposed checking them for the new virus. State and federal officials rejected that idea, citing privacy concerns and throwing up bureaucratic obstacles related to lab licenses.

Finally, at the end of February, Chu could stand the intransigence no longer. Her lab performed some tests and found the coronavirus in a local teenager who had not traveled overseas. That meant the disease was already spreading in the Seattle region among people who had never been abroad. If Chu had found this information a month earlier, lives might have been saved and the spread of the disease might have slowed—but even after the urgency of her work became evident, her lab was told to stop testing.

Chu was not threatened by the government, like Li had been in Wuhan. But she was just as effectively silenced by a rule-bound bureaucracy that was insufficiently worried about the pandemic—and by officials at the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who may even have felt political pressure not to take this disease as seriously as they should.

For Chu was not alone. We all now know that COVID-19 diagnostic tests are in scarce supply. South Korea, which has had exactly the same amount of time as the U.S. to prepare, is capable of administering 10,000 tests every day. The United States, with a population more than six times larger, had only tested about 10,000 people in total as of Friday. Vietnam, a poor country, has tested more people than the United States. During congressional testimony on Thursday, Anthony Fauci, the most distinguished infectious-disease doctor in the nation, described the American testing system as “failing.” “The idea of anybody getting [tested] easily the way people in other countries are doing it? We’re not set up for that,” he said. “Do I think we should be? Yes, but we’re not.”

And why not? Once again, no officials from the Chinese Communist Party instructed anyone in the United States not to carry out testing. Nobody prevented American public officials from ordering the immediate production of a massive number of tests. Nevertheless, they did not. We don’t know all the details yet, but one element of the situation cannot be denied: The president himself did not want the disease talked of too widely, did not want knowledge of it to spread, and, above all, did not want the numbers of those infected to appear too high. He said so himself, while explaining why he didn’t want a cruise ship full of infected Americans to dock in California. “I like the numbers being where they are,” he said. “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”

Donald Trump, just like the officials in Wuhan, was concerned about the numbers—the optics of how a pandemic looks. And everybody around him knew it. There are some indications that Alex Azar, the former pharmaceutical-industry executive and lobbyist who heads the Department of Health and Human Services, was not keen on telling the president things he did not want to hear. Here is how Dan Diamond, a Politico reporter who writes about health policy, delicately described the problem in a radio interview: “My understanding is [that Azar] did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that’s partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear—the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall.”

Once again: Nobody threatened Azar. But fear of offending the president may have led him to hesitate to push for aggressive testing nevertheless.

Without the threats and violence of the Chinese system, in other words, we have the same results: scientists not allowed to do their job; public-health officials not pushing for aggressive testing; preparedness delayed, all because too many people feared that it might damage the political prospects of the leader. I am not writing this in order to praise Chinese communism—far from it. I am writing this so that Americans understand that our government is producing some of the same outcomes as Chinese communism. This means that our political system is in far, far worse shape than we have hitherto understood.

What if it turns out, as it almost certainly will, that other nations are far better than we are at coping with this kind of catastrophe? Look at Singapore, which immediately created an app that could physically track everyone who was quarantined, and that energetically tracked down all the contacts of everyone identified to have the disease. Look at South Korea, with its proven testing ability. Look at Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel managed to speak honestly and openly about the disease—she predicted that 70 percent of Germans would get it—and yet did not crash the markets.

The United States, long accustomed to thinking of itself as the best, most efficient, and most technologically advanced society in the world, is about to be proved an unclothed emperor. When human life is in peril, we are not as good as Singapore, as South Korea, as Germany. And the problem is not that we are behind technologically, as the Japanese were in 1853. The problem is that American bureaucracies, and the antiquated, hidebound, unloved federal government of which they are part, are no longer up to the job of coping with the kinds of challenges that face us in the 21st century. Global pandemics, cyberwarfare, information warfare—these are threats that require highly motivated, highly educated bureaucrats; a national health-care system that covers the entire population; public schools that train students to think both deeply and flexibly; and much more.

The failures of the moment can be partly ascribed to the loyalty culture that Trump himself has spent three years building in Washington. Only two weeks ago, he named his 29-year-old former bodyguard, a man who was previously fired from the White House for financial shenanigans, to head up a new personnel-vetting team. Its role is to ensure that only people certifiably loyal are allowed to work for the president. Trump also fired, ostentatiously, the officials who testified honestly during the impeachment hearings, an action that sends a signal to others about the danger of truth-telling.

These are only the most recent manifestations of an autocratic style that has been described, over and over again, by many people. And now we see why, exactly, that style is so dangerous, and why previous American presidents, of both political parties, have operated much differently. Within a loyalty cult, no one will tell the president that starting widespread emergency testing would be prudent, because anyone who does is at risk of losing the president’s favor, even of being fired. Not that it matters, because Trump has very few truth-tellers around him anymore. The kinds of people who would dare make the president angry have left the upper ranks of the Cabinet and the bureaucracy already.

But some of what we are seeing is unrelated to Trump. American dysfunction is also the result of our bifurcated health-care system, which is both the best in the world and the worst in the world, and is simply not geared up for any kind of collective national response. The present crisis is the result of decades of underinvestment in civil service, of undervaluing bureaucracy in public health and other areas, and, above all, of underrating the value of long-term planning.

Back from 2001 to 2003, I wrote multiple editorials for The Washington Post about biological warfare and pandemic preparedness—issues that were at the top of everyone’s agenda in the wake of 9/11 and the brief anthrax scare. At the time, some very big investments were made into precisely those issues, especially into scientific research. We will now benefit from them. But in recent years, the subjects fell out of the news. Senators, among them the vaunted Republican moderate Susan Collins of Maine, knocked “pandemic preparedness” out of spending bills. New flu epidemics didn’t scare people enough. More recently, Trump eliminated the officials responsible for international health from the National Security Council because this kind of subject didn’t interest him—or very many other people in Washington, really.

As a nation, we are not good at long-term planning, and no wonder: Our political system insists that every president be allowed to appoint thousands of new officials, including the kinds of officials who think about pandemics. Why is that necessary? Why can’t expertise be allowed to accumulate at the highest levels of agencies such as the CDC? I’ve written before about the problem of discontinuity in foreign policy: New presidents arrive and think they can have a “reset” with other nations, as if other nations are going to forget everything that happened before their arrival—as if we can cheerfully start all relationships from scratch. But the same is true on health, the environment, and other policy issues. Of course there should be new Cabinet members every four or eight years. But should all their deputies change? And their deputies’ deputies? And their deputies’ deputies’ deputies? Because that’s often how it works right now.

All of this happens on top of all the other familiar pathologies: the profound polarization; the merger of politics and entertainment; the loss of faith in democratic institutions; the blind eyes turned to corruption, white-collar crime, and money laundering; the growth of inequality; the conversion of social media and a part of the news media into for-profit vectors of disinformation. These are all part of the deep background to this crisis too.

The question, of course, is whether this crisis will shock us enough to change our ways. The Japanese did eventually react to Commodore Perry’s squadron of ships with something more than fear. They stopped talking about themselves as the vertex of the Earth. They overhauled their education system. They adopted Western scientific methods, reorganized their state, and created a modern bureaucracy. This massive change, known as the Meiji Restoration, is what brought Japan, for better or for worse, into the modern world. Naturally, the old samurai-warrior class fought back against it, bitterly and angrily.

But by then the new threat was so obvious that enough people got it, enough people understood that a national mobilization was necessary, enough people understood that things could not go on that way indefinitely. Could it happen here, too?

Anne Applebaum is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She is a senior fellow of the Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Her latest book is Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine.

As The War On Terror Winds Down, The Pentagon Cuts Social Science (NPR)

March 16, 2020 5:00 AM ET Heard on Morning Edition

Geoff Brumfiel

The Pentagon funded research into the social sciences as part of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now as those wars wind down, it’s bringing one program to an end. Kevin Sieff/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The fragile peace deal taking shape in Afghanistan could spell the end of an era of for the U.S. military, one marked by efforts at nation-building and winning hearts and minds.

It appears that the Pentagon is also intent on ending a research program from that era — to fund social science for the military.

The program, known as the Minerva Research Initiative, was controversial and never quite delivered, according to its critics. But it was also one of the few Pentagon initiatives that engaged outside researchers to tackle big questions. Some worry that by eschewing outside academics in order to invest in weaponry, the Defense Department risks stumbling into a new arms race.

“The idea that you would need to eliminate a small program because you need to buy some small fraction of a new missile is short-sighted,” says Joshua Pollack, a scholar at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Washington, D.C. “It’s penny wise and pound foolish.”

Minerva began in 2008 at a time when the U.S. was trying to bring the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan under control. The idea was to call on anthropologists and other social scientists to help make those missions more successful.

“Counterinsurgency theory requires that you have some knowledge of the culture that you’re trying to occupy or control in some way,” says David Price, a professor of anthropology at St. Martin’s University in Washington State. Price, who studies the history of social science’s involvement with the defense establishment, describes that relationship as “mixed” over the years. During World War II, anthropologists did everything from translation to espionage. Anthropologists also participated in counterinsurgency operations in Vietnam, generating a great deal of controversy within the field.

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More recent social science programs in the war on terrorism have proven deeply divisive. One Pentagon program known as the Human Terrain System ended in disaster after several researchers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Psychologists working with the CIA contributed to interrogation practices that are now widely viewed as torture.

Minerva was far more academic. It gave grants to researchers in universities. Price says its military roots made it controversial among anthropologists, and he thinks it never really did deliver on the promise of using social science to win hearts and minds.

“The notion that you can get an occupied population to somehow accept this occupation or see it in their best interest … that’s a lot of weight to put on culture, when people very logically know that they’re being occupied,” he says.

Over the years, Minerva shifted its focus. More recent grants studied Russian disinformation campaigns and how to strengthen Western alliances. A 2019 review by the National Academies found that the research funded by Minerva was of high quality and that the program “has made important contributions.”

The military announced it was ending the program in February. In a written statement, the Pentagon says Minerva was eliminated “to align more directly with the Department’s modernization priorities.”

Price says he reads that statement as part of general shift by the Pentagon’s research arm, away from broad areas of inquiry and towards technology development programs. “Less money for humans, more money for robots,” he says.

Under the Trump administration, the Pentagon has put more money towards things like hypersonic missiles–advanced weapons it believes can help to counter Russia and China.

The end of the Minerva program is about more than just shifting money into advanced technology, Pollack says. The Pentagon appears less interested than ever in ever in hearing from outside academics.

“It’s not just a case of social sciences, it’s scientific advice, generally,” he says.

Last year, the Pentagon tried to disband a group of researchers known as the JASONs. They had given the Defense Department independent, sometimes critical evaluations of tough technical problems for years. The group later moved to the Department of Energy.

In the case of Minerva, the program is only around $15 million each year, sofa change for the Pentagon. Pollack worries that by favoring new hardware over academic advice, the Pentagon risks getting caught in an unproductive technological competition with Russia and China.

“The less we think about why we do things, and the more we’re just determined to go ahead and do them, the more we get into trouble in national security,” he warns.

Climate Science Meets a Stubborn Obstacle: Students (New York Times)

“It’s his website,” she said.

 Mr. Sutter during his Advanced Placement environmental science class. He was hired from a program that recruits science professionals into teaching. Credit: Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

For his part, Mr. Sutter occasionally fell short of his goal of providing Gwen — the most vocal of a raft of student climate skeptics — with calm, evidence-based responses. “Why would I lie to you?” he demanded one morning. “It’s not like I’m making a lot of money here.”

She was, he knew, a straight-A student. She would have had no trouble comprehending the evidence, embedded in ancient tree rings, ice, leaves and shells, as well as sophisticated computer models, that atmospheric carbon dioxide is the chief culprit when it comes to warming the world. Or the graph he showed of how sharply it has spiked since the Industrial Revolution, when humans began pumping vast quantities of it into the air.

Thinking it a useful soothing device, Mr. Sutter assented to Gwen’s request that she be allowed to sand the bark off the sections of wood he used to illustrate tree rings during class. When she did so with an energy that, classmates said, increased during discussion points with which she disagreed, he let it go.

When she insisted that teachers “are supposed to be open to opinions,” however, Mr. Sutter held his ground.

“It’s not about opinions,” he told her. “It’s about the evidence.”

“It’s like you can’t disagree with a scientist or you’re ‘denying science,”’ she sniffed to her friends.

Gwen, 17, could not put her finger on why she found Mr. Sutter, whose biology class she had enjoyed, suddenly so insufferable. Mr. Sutter, sensing that his facts and figures were not helping, was at a loss. And the day she grew so agitated by a documentary he was showing that she bolted out of the school left them both shaken.

“I have a runner,” Mr. Sutter called down to the office, switching off the video.

He had chosen the video, an episode from an Emmy-winning series that featured a Christian climate activist and high production values, as a counterpoint to another of Gwen’s objections, that a belief in climate change does not jibe with Christianity.

“It was just so biased toward saying climate change is real,” she said later, trying to explain her flight. “And that all these people that I pretty much am like are wrong and stupid.”

Classroom Culture Wars

As more of the nation’s teachers seek to integrate climate science into the curriculum, many of them are reckoning with students for whom suspicion of the subject is deeply rooted.

In rural Wellston, a former coal and manufacturing town seeking its next act, rejecting the key findings of climate science can seem like a matter of loyalty to a way of life already under siege. Originally tied, perhaps, to economic self-interest, climate skepticism has itself become a proxy for conservative ideals of hard work, small government and what people here call “self-sustainability.”

A tractor near Wellston, an area where coal and manufacturing were once the primary employment opportunities. Credit: Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Assiduously promoted by fossil fuel interests, that powerful link to a collective worldview largely explains why just 22 percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters in a 2016 poll said they believed that human activity is warming the planet, compared with half of all registered voters. And the prevailing outlook among his base may in turn have facilitated the president’s move to withdraw from the global agreement to battle rising temperatures.

“What people ‘believe’ about global warming doesn’t reflect what they know,” Dan Kahan, a Yale researcher who studies political polarization, has stressed in talks, papers and blog posts. “It expresses who they are.”

But public-school science classrooms are also proving to be a rare place where views on climate change may shift, research has found. There, in contrast with much of adult life, it can be hard to entirely tune out new information.

“Adolescents are still heavily influenced by their parents, but they’re also figuring themselves out,” said Kathryn Stevenson, a researcher at North Carolina State University who studies climate literacy.

Gwen’s father died when she was young, and her mother and uncle, both Trump supporters, doubt climate change as much as she does.

“If she was in math class and teacher told her two plus two equals four and she argued with him about that, I would say she’s wrong,” said her uncle, Mark Beatty. “But no one knows if she’s wrong.”

As Gwen clashed with her teacher over the notion of human-caused climate change, one of her best friends, Jacynda Patton, was still circling the taboo subject. “I learned some stuff, that’s all,’’ Jacynda told Gwen, on whom she often relied to supply the $2.40 for school lunch that she could not otherwise afford.

Jacynda Patton, right, during Mr. Sutter’s class. “I thought it would be an easy A,” she said. “It wasn’t.”Credit: Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Hired a year earlier, Mr. Sutter was the first science teacher at Wellston to emphasize climate science. He happened to do so at a time when the mounting evidence of the toll that global warming is likely to take, and the Trump administration’s considerable efforts to discredit those findings, are drawing new attention to the classroom from both sides of the nation’s culture war.

Since March, the Heartland Institute, a think tank that rejects the scientific consensus on climate change, has sent tens of thousands of science teachers a book of misinformation titled “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming,” in an effort to influence “the next generation of thought,” said Joseph Bast, the group’s chief executive.

The Alliance for Climate Education, which runs assemblies based on the consensus science for high schools across the country, received new funding from a donor who sees teenagers as the best means of reaching and influencing their parents.

Idaho, however, this year joined several other states that have declined to adopt new science standards that emphasize the role human activities play in climate change.

At Wellston, where most students live below the poverty line and the needle-strewn bike path that abuts the marching band’s practice field is known as “heroin highway,” climate change is not regarded as the most pressing issue. And since most Wellston graduates typically do not go on to obtain a four-year college degree, this may be the only chance many of them have to study the impact of global warming.

But Mr. Sutter’s classroom shows how curriculum can sometimes influence culture on a subject that stands to have a more profound impact on today’s high schoolers than their parents.

“I thought it would be an easy A,” said Jacynda, 16, an outspoken Trump supporter. “It wasn’t.”

God’s Gift to Wellston?

Mr. Sutter, who grew up three hours north of Wellston in the largely Democratic city of Akron, applied for the job at Wellston High straight from a program to recruit science professionals into teaching, a kind of science-focused Teach for America.

He already had a graduate-level certificate in environmental science from the University of Akron and a private sector job assessing environmental risk for corporations. But a series of personal crises that included his sister’s suicide, he said, had compelled him to look for a way to channel his knowledge to more meaningful use.

The fellowship gave him a degree in science education in exchange for a three-year commitment to teach in a high-needs Ohio school district. Megan Sowers, the principal, had been looking for someone qualified to teach an Advanced Placement course, which could help improve her financially challenged school’s poor performance ranking. She hired him on the spot.

Mr. Sutter walking with his students on a nature trail near the high school, where he pointed out evidence of climate change. Credit: Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times 

But at a school where most teachers were raised in the same southeastern corner of Appalachian Ohio as their students, Mr. Sutter’s credentials themselves could raise hackles.

“He says, ‘I left a higher-paying job to come teach in an area like this,’” Jacynda recalled. “We’re like, ‘What is that supposed to mean?”’

“He acts,” Gwen said with her patented eye roll, “like he’s God’s gift to Wellston.”

In truth, he was largely winging it.

Some 20 states, including a handful of red ones, have recently begun requiring students to learn that human activity is a major cause of climate change, but few, if any, have provided a road map for how to teach it, and most science teachers, according to one recent survey, spend at most two hours on the subject.

Chagrined to learn that none of his students could recall a school visit by a scientist, Mr. Sutter hosted several graduate students from nearby Ohio University.

On a field trip to a biology laboratory there, many of his students took their first ride on an escalator. To illustrate why some scientists in the 1970s believed the world was cooling rather than warming (“So why should we believe them now?” students sometimes asked), he brought in a 1968 push-button phone and a 1980s Nintendo game cartridge.

“Our data and our ability to process it is just so much better now,” he said.

In the A.P. class, Mr. Sutter took an informal poll midway through: In all, 14 of 17 students said their parents thought he was, at best, wasting their time. “My stepdad says they’re brainwashing me,” one said.

Jacynda’s father, for one, did not raise an eyebrow when his daughter stopped attending Mr. Sutter’s class for a period in the early winter. A former coal miner who had endured two years of unemployment before taking a construction job, he declined a request to talk about it.

“I think it’s that it’s taken a lot from him,” Jacynda said. “He sees it as the environmental people have taken his job.”

And having listened to Mr. Sutter reiterate the overwhelming agreement among scientists regarding humanity’s role in global warming in answer to another classmate’s questions — “What if we’re not the cause of it? What if this is something that’s natural?” — Jacynda texted the classmate one night using an expletive to refer to Mr. Sutter’s teaching approach.

But even the staunchest climate-change skeptics could not ignore the dearth of snow days last winter, the cap to a year that turned out to be the warmest Earth has experienced since 1880, according to NASA. The high mark eclipsed the record set just the year before, which had eclipsed the year before that.

In woods behind the school, where Mr. Sutter had his students scout out a nature trail, he showed them the preponderance of emerald ash borers, an invasive insect that, because of the warm weather, had not experienced the usual die-off that winter. There was flooding, too: Once, more than 5.5 inches of rain fell in 48 hours.

The field trip to a local stream where the water runs neon orange also made an impression. Mr. Sutter had the class collect water samples: The pH levels were as acidic as “the white vinegar you buy at a grocery store,” he told them. And the drainage, they could see, was from the mine.

It was the realization that she had failed to grasp the damage done to her immediate environment, Jacynda said, that made her begin to pay more attention. She did some reading. She also began thinking that she might enjoy a job working for the Environmental Protection Agency — until she learned that, under Mr. Trump, the agency would undergo huge layoffs.

“O.K., I’m not going to lie. I did a 180,” she said that afternoon in the library with Gwen, casting a guilty look at her friend. “This is happening, and we have to fix it.”

After fleeing Mr. Sutter’s classroom that day, Gwen never returned, a pragmatic decision about which he has regrets. “That’s one student I feel I failed a little bit,” he said.

As an alternative, Gwen took an online class for environmental science credit, which she does not recall ever mentioning climate change. She and Jacynda had other things to talk about, like planning a bonfire after prom.

As they tried on dresses last month, Jacynda mentioned that others in their circle, including the boys they had invited to prom, believed the world was dangerously warming, and that humans were to blame. By the last days of school, most of Mr. Sutter’s doubters, in fact, had come to that conclusion.

“I know,” Gwen said, pausing for a moment. “Now help me zip this up.”

Indigenous Science: March for Science Letter of Support

To the March for Science, DC and satellite marches across the nation and the world:

As Indigenous scientists, agency professionals, tribal professionals, educators, traditional practitioners, family, youth, elders and allies from Indigenous communities and homelands all over the living Earth we

Endorse and Support the March for Science.

As original peoples, we have long memories, centuries old wisdom and deep knowledge of this land and the importance of empirical, scientific inquiry as fundamental to the well-being of people and planet.

Let us remember that long before Western science came to these shores, there were Indigenous scientists here. Native astronomers, agronomists, geneticists, ecologists, engineers, botanists, zoologists, watershed hydrologists, pharmacologists, physicians and more—all engaged in the creation and application of knowledge which promoted the flourishing of both human societies and the beings with whom we share the planet. We give gratitude for all their contributions to knowledge. Native science supported indigenous culture, governance and decision making for a sustainable future –the same needs which bring us together today.

As we endorse and support the March for Science, let us acknowledge that there are multiple ways of knowing that play an essential role in advancing knowledge for the health of all life. Science, as concept and process, is translatable into over 500 different Indigenous languages in the U.S. and thousands world-wide. Western science is a powerful approach, but it is not the only one.

Indigenous science provides a wealth of knowledge and a powerful alternative paradigm by which we understand the natural world and our relation to it. Embedded in cultural frameworks of respect, reciprocity, responsibility and reverence for the earth, Indigenous science lies within a worldview where knowledge is coupled to responsibility and human activity is aligned with ecological principles and natural law, rather than against them. We need both ways of knowing if we are to advance knowledge and sustainability.

Let us March not just for Science-but for Sciences!

We acknowledge and honor our ancestors and draw attention to the ways in which Indigenous communities have been negatively impacted by the misguided use of Western scientific research and institutional power. Our communities have been used as research subjects, experienced environmental racism, extractive industries that harm our homelands and have witnessed Indigenous science and the rights of Indigenous peoples dismissed by institutions of Western science.

While Indigenous science is an ancient and dynamic body of knowledge, embedded in sophisticated cultural epistemologies, it has long been marginalized by the institutions of contemporary Western science. However, traditional knowledge is increasingly recognized as a source of concepts, models, philosophies and practices which can inform the design of new sustainability solutions. It is both ancient and urgent.

Indigenous science offers both key insights and philosophical frameworks for problem solving that includes human values, which are much needed as we face challenges such as climate change, sustainable resource management, health disparities and the need for healing the ecological damage we have done.

Indigenous science informs place-specific resource management and land-care practices important for environmental health of tribal and federal lands. We require greater recognition and support for tribal consultation and participation in the co-management, protection, and restoration of our ancestral lands.

Indigenous communities have partnered with Western science to address environmental justice, health disparities, and intergenerational trauma in our communities. We have championed innovation and technology in science from agriculture to medicine. New ecological insights have been generated through sharing of Indigenous science. Indigenous communities and Western science continue to promote diversity within STEM fields. Each year Indigenous people graduate with Ph.D.’s, M.D.’s, M.S.’s and related degrees that benefit our collective societies. We also recognize and promote the advancement of culture-bearers, Elders, hunters and gatherers who strengthen our communities through traditional practices.

Our tribal communities need more culturally embedded scientists and at the same time, institutions of Western science need more Indigenous perspectives. The next generation of scientists needs to be well- positioned for growing collaboration with Indigenous science. Thus we call for enhanced support for inclusion of Indigenous science in mainstream education, for the benefit of all. We envision a productive symbiosis between Indigenous and Western knowledges that serve our shared goals of sustainability for land and culture. This symbiosis requires mutual respect for the intellectual sovereignty of both Indigenous and Western sciences.

As members of the Indigenous science community, we endorse and support the March for Science – and we encourage Indigenous people and allies to participate in the national march in DC or a satellite march. Let us engage the power of both Indigenous and Western science on behalf of the living Earth.

Let our Indigenous voices be heard.

In solidarity,

ADD YOUR NAME BELOW, AND SCROLL DOWN FOR FULL LIST OF SIGNATORIES

If you are an ally, please write “ally” under tribal affiliation.

SIGNATORIES

1. Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), Professor of Environmental and Forest Biology, Director Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

2. Dr. Rosalyn LaPier (Blackfeet/Metis), Research Associate, Women’s Studies, Environmental Studies, and Native American Religion. Harvard Divinity School

3. Dr. Melissa K. Nelson (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), Associate Professor of American Indian Studies, San Francisco State University, President of the Cultural Conservancy, San Francisco, CA

4. Dr. Kyle P. Whyte (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), Timnick Chair in the Humanities, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Community Sustainability, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

5. Neil Patterson, Jr. (Tuscarora) Assistant Director, Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY and EPA Tribal Science Council.

6. Dr. Patty Loew, Professor, Department of Life Sciences Communication. University of Wisconsin-Madison

7. Patricia Cochran (Inupiat), Executive Director, Alaska Native Science Commission, Anchorage, AK

8. Dr. Gregory A. Cajete (Tewa-Santa Clara Pueblo), Director of Native American Studies-University College, Professor of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies-College of Education, University of New Mexico

9. Dr. Deborah McGregor (Anishinaabe), Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair, Indigenous Environmental Justice, Osgoode Hall Law School and Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

10. Leroy Little Bear (Blackfoot), Professor Emeritus, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

11. Dr. Karletta Chief (Navajo), Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science. University of Arizona

12. Leslie Harper (Leech Lake Ojibwe), President, National Coalition of Native American Language Schools and Programs

13. Namaka Rawlins (Hawaiian), Aha Punana Leo, Hilo, Hawaii

14. Abaki Beck (Blackfeet/Metis), Founder, POC Online Classroom and Co-Editor of Daughters of Violence Zine

15. Ciarra Greene (Nimiipuu/Nez Perce), NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Portland State University

16. Dr. Scott Herron (Miami/Anishinaabe), Professor of Biology, Ferris State University and Society of Ethnobiology President

17. Chris Caldwell (Menominee Nation), Director of Sustainable Development Institute at College of Menominee Nation

18. Jerry Jondreau (Keweenaw Bay Indian Community/Ojibwe), Director of Recruiting, Michigan Technological University – School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

19. Dr. Shelly Valdez (Pueblo of Laguna), Native Pathways, Laguna, NM

20. Melonee Montano (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa), Traditional Ecological Knowledge Outreach Specialist, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission

21. Nicholas J. Reo (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), Assistant Professor of Native American and Environmental Studies, Dartmouth College

22. Dr. Daniela Shebitz (Ally), Associate Professor/Coordinator of Environmental Biology and Sustainability, Kean University

23. Denise Waterman (Haudenosaunee: Oneida Nation), Educator, Onondaga Nation School

24. J. Baird Callicott (Ally), University Distinguished Research Professor, UNT

25. Dr. Nancy C. Maryboy (Cherokee/Dine), Indigenous Education Institute; and University of Washington, Department of Environmental and Forestry Sciences

26. Dr. Jeannette Armstrong (Syilx Okanagan), Canada Research Chair, Okanagan Knowledge and Philosophy, University of British Columbia, Okanagan

27. Barbara Moktthewenkwe Wall (Bodwewaadmii Anishinaabe), Knowledge Holder, Graduate Student, Keene, ON

28. Michael Dockry (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), PhD, St. Paul, MN

29. Joan McGregor (Ally), Professor of Philosophy and Senior Sustainability Scholar Global Institute for Sustainability, Arizona State University

30. Mary Evelyn Tucker (Ally), Yale University

31. Dr. Vicki Watson (Ally), Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Montana

32. Dr. Adrian Leighton (Ally), Natural Resources Director, Salish Kootenai College

33. Dr. Michael Paul Nelson (Ally), Ruth H. Spaniol Chair of Renewable Resources and Professor of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy, Oregon State University

34. Philip P. Arnold (Ally), Associate Professor, Chair, Department of Religion, Syracuse University. Director Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center

35. Dr. Mark Bellcourt (White Earth Nation), Academic Professional – University of Minnesota

36. F. Henry Lickers (Haudenosaunee), Scientific Co- Chair HETF

37. Jane Mt.Pleasant (Tuscarora), Associate Professor, School of Integrative Science, Cornell University

38. Dr. Lisa M. Poupart (Lac Du Flambeau Ojibwe,) Associate Professor/Director of First Nations Education, University of Wisconsin Green Bay

39. Beynan T Ransom (St Regis Mohawk Tribe), Program Coordinator, Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program

40. Cheryl Bauer-Armstrong (Ally), Director, UW-Madison Earth Partnership, Indigenous Arts and Sciences

41. Aaron Bird Bear (Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation) Assistant Dean, School of Education, UW-Madison

42. Scott Manning Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk), Director, Native American Studies, Syracuse University

43. Preston Hardison (Ally), Policy Analyst, Tulalip Natural Resources

44. Dr. Jonathan Gilbert, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission Director, Biological Services Division, GLIFWC

45. Ilarion Merculieff (Unangan – Aleut), President, Global Center for Indigenous Leadership and Lifeways

46. Denise Pollock (Inupiaq – Native Village of Shishmaref), Alaska Institute for Justice

47. David Beck (Ally), Professor, Native American Studies, University of Montana

48. Dr. Pierre Bélanger (Ally), Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

49. Dan Sarna, Karuk Tribe Dept. of Natural Resources collaborator, UC Berkeley post-doctoral research fellow

50. Simon J. Ortiz (Acoma), Regents Professor of English and American Indian Studies

51. Bron Taylor (Ally), University of Florida

52. Dr. Ronald L. Trosper (Salish/Kootenai), Professor of American Indian Studies, University of Arizona

53. Tammy Bluewolf-Kennedy (Oneida Nation of New York), Undergraduate Admissions Counselor, Native American Liaison, Chancellor’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion, Syracuse University

54. Dr. Isabel Hawkins (Ally), Astronomer and Project Director, Exploratorium

55. Claire Hope Cummings (Ally), Lawyer, journalist, legal advisor to Winnemem Wintu Tribe

56. Linda Hogan (Chickasaw), University of Colorado, Professor Emerita

57. Laird Jones (Tlingit & Haida Central Council), Fisheries

58. Stewart Diemont (Ally), Associate Professor / SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

59. Kacey Chopito (Zuni Pueblo), Student, Syracuse University

60. Jason Delborne (Ally), Associate Professor, NC State University

61. Cassandra L Beaulieu (Mohawk), Laboratory Technician, Upstate Freshwater Institute

62. Nancy Riopel Smith (Ally), East Aurora, NY

63. Dr. Mary Finley-Brook (Ally), Associate Professor of Geography, University of Richmond

64. Michael Galban (Washoe/Mono Lake Paiute), Curator/Historian, Seneca Art & Culture Center

65. Cara Ewell Hodkin (Seneca), SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

66. RDK Herman (Ally), Baltimore, MD

67. Emily H (Ally), Delaware, OH

68. Dr. Dan Roronhiakewen Longboat (Haudenosaunee – Mohawk Nation), Associate Professor and Director of the Indigenous Environmental Studies and Science Program, Trent University

69. Dan Spencer (Ally), University of Montana

70. Katherina Searing (Ally), Associate Director, Professional Education / SUNY ESF

71. Dr. Robin Saha (Ally), Associate Professor, Environmental Studies Program, University of Montana

72. Andrea D Wieland (Ally), Career Counselor, FRCC

73. Dr. Colin Beier (Ally), Associate Professor of Ecology, Syracuse, NY

74. Dr. Michael J Dockry (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), St. Paul, MN

75. Matthew J Ballard (Shinnecock), Southampton, NY

76. Anthony Corbine (Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa), Grants Coordinator, Natural Resources Dept.

77. Laura Zanotti (Ally), Associate Professor, Purdue University

78. Len Broberg (Ally), Professor/ Environmental Studies, University of Montana

79. Danielle Antelope (Eastern Shoshone / Blackfeet), Blackfeet Community College

80. Tomasz Falkowski (Ally), State Univeristy of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

81. Dr. Elizabeth Folta (Ally), Assistant Professor, Environmental Education & Interpretation Program Coordinator, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

82. Dr. Alexis Bunten (Aleut/Yup’ik), Indigeneity Program Manager/Bioneers

83. Susan Elliott (Ally), University of Montata

84. Cat Techtmann (Ally), Environmental Outreach Specialist

85. Marie Schaefer (Anishinaabe), Phd Student, Community Sustainability, Michigan State University

86. Dr. Ross Hoffman (Ally), Associate Professor, University of Northern British Columbia

87. Mary Elizabeth Braun (Ally), Acquisitions Editor, Oregon State University Press

88. Dr. Melanie Lenart (Ally), Faculty member, Science and Agriculture, Tohono O’odham Community College

89. Dr. Mehana Blaich Vaughan (Native Hawaiian, Haleleʻa, Kauaʻi), Assistant Professor, University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa

90. Alyssa Mt. Pleasant (Tuscarora), Assistant Professor of Native American & Indigenous Studies, University at Buffalo

91. Dianne E. Rocheleau (Ally), Professor of Geography/Clark University

92. Jorge García Polo (Ally), SUNY – ESF

93. Jessica Lackey (Cherokee Nation), PhD Student- Natural Resource Sciences and Management, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

94. Katie Hinkfuss (Ally)

95. Dr. Jessica Dolan (Ally), Researcher/Adjunct Lecturer, McGill University, University of Pennsylvania; Conference co-ordinator, Society of Ethnobiology

96. Gregory J. Gauthier Jr. (Menominee), Sustainable Development Insitute

97. Lynda Schneekloth (Ally), University at Buffalo / SUNY

98. Dr. Mary Jo Ondrechen (Mohawk), Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Northeastern University

99. Ali Oppelt (Ally), Engineer

100. Dr. Toben Lafrancois (Ally), Research Scientist, Northland College and Pack Leader of Zaaga’igan ma’iinganag

101. Jessie Smith (Ally), State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

102. Curtis Waterman (Onondaga Nation), Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force

103. Luis Malaret (Ally), Professor of Biology Emeratus/Community College of Rhode Island

104. Dan Meissner (Ally), D’Youville College

105. Ilana Weinstein (Ally), SUNY ESF

106. Dr Rebecca Kiddle (Ngati Porou, Nga Puhi), Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington

107. Wallace J. Nichols (Ally), Senior Fellow, Center for the Blue Economy, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

108. Catherine M. Johnson (Ally), Graduate Research Assistant, PNW-COSMOS Montana State University

109. Ranalda Tsosie (Diné), Ph.D Student/University of Montana

110. Gyda Swaney (Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation), Associate Professor/Department of Psychology/University of Montana

111. Tara Dowd (Inupiaq, Village of Kiana), Consultant, Red Fox Consulting

112. Michael P. Capozzoli (Ally), University of Montana

113. Siddharth Bharath Iyengar (Ally), Graduate Student, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

114. Jen Harrington (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), Graduate Candidate Resource Conservation/ University of Montana

115. Judy BlueHorse Skelton (Nez Perce/Cherokee), Faculty, Portland State University Indigenous Nations Studies

116. Dr. Charles Hall (Ally), Professor Emeritus SUNY ESF

117. Michael Hathaway (Ally), Associate Professor, Anthropology, Simon Fraser University

118. Rosemary Ahtuangaruak (Native Village of Barrow)

119. Charles FW Wheelock (Oneida Nation), National New World Resource Futures

120. Hayley Marama Cavino (Ngati Whiti/Ngati Pukenga– New Zealand), Adjunct, Native American Studies, Syracuse University

121. Warren Matte (Gros Ventre – White Clay Nation), Harvard University Alumni

122. Richard Erickson (Ally), Science Teacher/Bayfield High School

123. Chandra Talpade Mohanty (Ally), Syracuse University

124. Lauren Tarr (Ally)

125. Elizabeth J. Pyatt (Ally), Lecturer in Linguistics, Penn State

126. Grisel Robles-Schrader (Ally)

127. Suzanne Flannery Quinn (Ally) Senior Lecturer, Froebel College, University of Roehampton

128. Natalie Rodrigues (Ally), Student

129. Betsy Theobald Richards (Cherokee Nation), The Opportunity Agenda

130. Beka Economopoulos (Ally), Executive Director, The Natural History Museum

131. Melvina McCabe, MD (Dine’ ), Professor and Associate Vice Chancellor for Native Health Policy and Service/University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center

132. Nancy Schuldt (Ally, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa), Water Program Coordinator

133. Crystal Lepscier (Menominee/Stockbridge-Munsee/Little Shell Ojibwe), 4H Youth Development Agent/Shawano County/UW Extension

134. Dr. Brigitte Evering (Ally) Research Associate, Indigenous Environmental Sciences/Studies, Trent University

135. Devon Brock-Montgomery (Ally), Climate Change Coordinator- Bad River Natural Resources Department

136. Bazile Panek (Anishinaabe), Photographer of Zaaga’igan Ma’iinganag and Youth Leader

137. Nikki Marie Crowe (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa), Tribal College Extension Coordinator

138. Lemyra DeBruyn (Ally)

139. Abbey Feola (Ally)

140. Kate Flick (Ally), sciences educator

141. Laura Zanolli (Chickasaw), MSc/University of Montana

142. Kristiana Ferguson (Tuscarora), Sanborn, NY

143. Priscilla Belisle (Oneida Nation), Grant Development Specialist, Oneida Nation

144. Catherine Landis (Ally), Doctoral Candidate, SUNY ESF

145. Dr. Hedi Baxter Lauffer (Ally), Science Educator and Researcher

146. Brady Mabe (Ally), University of Virginia

147. Robin T Clark (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa), Sault Ste. Marie, MI

148. Miles Falck (Oneida Nation), Wildlife Section Leader, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission

149. Erica Roberts (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina), PhD in Behavioral and Community Health, University of Maryland

150. Katelyn Kaim (Ally), State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

151. Patricia Moran (Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians), Conservation Coordinator

152. Tracy Williams (Oneida Nation Wisconsin), WolfClanFaithkeeper/DirectorOneidaLanguageDept

153. Jennie R. Joe, Professor Emerita, Dept of Family & Community Medicine,

154. Tana Atchley (Klamath Tribes – Modoc/Paiute), Tribal Workforce Development & Outreach Coordinator, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

155. Himika Bhattacharya (Ally), Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, Syracuse University

156. Sonni Tadlock (Okanogan, Colville), BS Native Environmental Science, Northwest Indian College

157. David Voelker (Ally), Associate Professor of Humanities & History

158. Margaret Wooster (Ally), Watershed Planner and Writer

159. David O. Born, Ph.D. (Ally)

160. Jason Packineau (Mandan, Hidatsa Arikara, Pueblo of Jemez, Pueblo of Laguna), Harvard University

161. Janene Yazzie (Navajo Nation), Research Associate

162. Dr. Brian D. Compton (Ally), Native Environmental Science Faculty, Northwest Indian College

163. Giselle Schreiber (Ally), Undergraduate, SUNY-ESF

164. Dr. Antonia O. Franco (Ally), SACNAS Executive Director

165. Daniela Bernal (Ally), Communications & Marketing Coordinator, SACNAS

166. Haskey Fleming (Navajo Nation), Student at SUNY ESF

167. Annjeanette Belcourt (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nations) Associate Professor

168. Nicole MartinRogers (White Earth Nation), PhD in sociology

169. LeManuel Lee Bitsoi (Navajo Nation), Assistant Professor, Rush University Medical Center

170. Yoshira Ornelas Van Horne (Ally), Doctoral Student, University of Arizona Environmental Health Sciences

171. Penney Wiley (Ally), Masters of Science, Health & Human Development, MSU, Bozeman, MT

172. Kathryn Harris Tijerina (Comanche), President Emeritus, IAIA (ret.)

173. Rita Harris (Cherokee Long Hair Tribe), Ritas Remembrances, Owner.

174. Lawrence Ahenakew (Chippewa/Cree), Deputy Director, HR Payroll Help Desk

175. Dr. Mary Hermes (Mixed Indigenous Heritage), Associate Professor Curriculum and Instruction, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

176. Emily A. Haozous, PhD, RN, FAAN (Chiricahua Fort Sill Apache), Associate Professor, PhD Program Director, and Regent’s Professor, University of New Mexico College of Nursing

177. Chiara Cabiglio (Ally), SACNAS Social Media & Communications Coordinator / Aspiring Personal Vegan Chef

178. Liz Cochran (Ally), Retired Elementary Educator

179. Miriam Olivera (Mixteco)

180. Janine DeBaise (Ally), Faculty, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry

181. Taylor Saver (Anishinaabe)

182. Roxana Coreas (Ally), Doctoral Student, University of California, Riverside

183. Guthrie Capossela (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe), MA, Nonprofit Management, Native American Liaison Rochester Public Schools

184. Rachelle Begay (Diné ), Program Coordinator, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona

185. Tom Ozden-Schilling (Ally), Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University Canada Program

186. Wesley Leonard (Miami Tribe of Oklahoma), Assistant Professor, University of California, Riverside

187. Tom BK Goldtooth (Ally), Indigenous Environmental Network, Executive Director

188. Scott Hauser (Upper Snake River Tribes), Foundation Executive Director

189. Suzanne Neefus (Ally), Michigan State University

190. Shay Welch (Cherokee, undocumented), Professor of Philosophy

191. Heidi McCann (Yavapai-Apache Nation), CIRES/NSIDC

192. Todd Ziegler (Ally), Research Area Specialist; University of Michigan School of Public Health

193. Lauren Cooper (Ally), Academic Specialist, Forestry Department, Michigan State University

194. Zachary Piso (Ally), Michigan State University

195. Alisa Bokulich (Ally), Professor, Boston University

196. Randy Peppler (Ally), University of Oklahoma

197. Rosalee Gonzalez, PhD, MSW (Xicana-Kickapoo), Arizona State University(Faculty)/Native American in Philanthropy (Research Consultant)

198. Michael Burroughs (Ally), Penn State

199. Ayrel Clark-Proffitt (Ally), Sustainability professional

200. Paul B. Thompson (Ally), W.K. Kellogg Professor of Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics, Michigan State University

201. LaRae Wiley (Colville Confederated Tribes), Salish School of Spokane

202. Mike Jetty (Spirit Lake Dakota), Indian Education Specialist, MT Office of Public Instruction

203. Colin Farish (Ojibwe by adoption and marriage), Musician

204. Ayanna Spencer (Ally), Michigan State University

205. Eleanor (Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian), Anthropologist

206. Stephanie Julian (Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians) Indigenous Arts & Science Coordinator

207. Kirsten Vinyeta (Ally), University of Oregon

208. Laura (Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria)

209. Evan Berry (Ally), American University

210. Sachem HawkStorm (Schaghticoke), Chief

211. Dr. Robin M. Wright, American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program AmDepartment of Religion, University of Florida

212. Dr. Bethany Nowviskie (Ally) Director, Digital Library Federation at CLIR and Research Associate Professor of Digital Humanities, University of Virginia

213. Arwen Bird (Ally), Woven Strategies, LLC

214. Robbie Paul, PhD (NezPerce), Retired, WSU

215. Elizabeth LaPensee (Anishinaabe and Metis), Assistant Professor of Media & Information and Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures at Michigan State University

216. Gerald Urquhart (Ally), Michigan State University

217. Dr. Brianna Burke (Ally), Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities at Iowa State University

218. David C Sands (Ally), Professor of Plant Pathology, Montana State University

219. Alex Lenferna (Ally), Fulbright Scholar, Philosophy Department, University of Washington

220. Robin M. Wright (Ally), American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, University of Florida

221. Twa-le Abrahamson-Swan (Spokane), BS Environmental Science/Restoration Ecology, University of WA

222. Doug Eddy (Ally), PhD Student, Program in Ecology, University of Wyoming

223. Dr. Anthony Lioi (Ally), Associate Professor of Liberal Arts and English, The Juilliard School

224. Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes), Center for World Indigenous Studies

225. Johnny Buck (Wanapum/Yakama Nation), Student, Northwest Indian College

226. Henry Quintero (Apache), ASU

227. Dr. Nancy McHugh (Ally), Wittenberg University

228. . Neil Henderson (Oklahoma Choctaw), Univ. Minnesota Medical School

229. Sammy Matsaw (Shoshone-Bannock/Oglala Lakota), IGERT PhD student, ISTEM Scholar

230. Allegra de Laurentiis (Ally), Professor at SUNY-Stony Brook

231. Laura Schmitt Olabisi (Ally), Michigan State University Department of Community Sustainability

232. Andrew Jolivette (Atakapa-Ishak/Opelousa), Professor SF State American Indian Studies

233. Dr. Heidi Grasswick (Ally), Professor of Philosophy, Middlebury College

234. Emily Simmonds (Metis), Department of Science and Technology Studies

235. Stephen Hamilton (Ally), Professor, Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University

236. Michelle Murphy (Metis) Director Technoscience Research Unit, Professor WGSI, Steering Committee Environmental Data and Governance Initiative

237. Paloma Beamer (Ally), University of Arizona

238. Jaime Yazzie (Diné), Master of Science of Forestry Candidate, Northern Arizona University

239. Ramon Montano Marquez (Kickapoo, Kumeyaay, Pa’Ipai), Restorative Justice Implementation Strategist

240. Rose O’Leary (Osage, Tsa-la-gi, Quapaw, Mi’kmaq), Graduate Student University of Washington, Dartmouth College

241. Bill Brown (Anishinaabe), White Earth Resevation Aiiy

242. Dr. Amy Reed-Sandoval (Ally) Assistant Professor of Philosophy, The University of Texas at El Paso

243. Paul Willias (Ally), Squamish Tribe Fisheries

244. Audrey N. Maretzki (Ally), ICIK at Penn State Univ.

245. Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough (Native Village of Unalakleet), University of Alaska Anchorage

246. Michael Kaplowitz (Ally), Michigan State University

247. Fawn YoungBear-Tibbetts (White Earth Band Of MN Chippewa), Indigenous Arts and Sciences Founder, University of Wisconsin Earth Partnership program

248. Melinda Levin (Ally), University of North Texas

249. Dr. Kari Mari Norgaard (Ally), Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies

250. Olivia Blyth (Ally), Teaching Fellow

251. Bart Johnson (Ally), Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

252. Orville H. Huntington (Huslia Tribe), Ally, Tanana Chiefs Conference Wildlife & Parks Director, EPA Tribal Science Council, Alaska Board of Fisheries, Alaska Native Science Commission

253. Beth Leonard (Shageluk Tribe – Alaska), Department of Alaska Native Studies – University of Alaska Anchorage

254. Lisa Fink( Ally), University of Oregon

255. Carla Dhillon (Ally) P.E. Phd Candidate, U of Michigan

256. Lucas Silva (Ally), University of Oregon

257. Benjamin Kenofer (Ally), Ph.D Student, Michigan State University

258. Lillian Tom-Orme (Dine’ – Navajo), University of Utah

259. Dr. Ryan E. Emanuel (Lumbee), Associate Professor and University Faculty Scholar, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University

260. Sue Cramer (Ally), Former social worker

261. Judith Ramos (Tlingit), Professor

262. Ashley Studholme (Ally), University of Oregon

263. Dr. Jack D. Cichy (Ally), Professor of Management & Sustainability, Davenport University

264. Iria Gimenez (Ally), Oregon State University

265. Kathy Jacobs (Ally), Professor and Director, Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions, University of Arizona

266. Delight Satter (Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde), Health Scientist

267. Salma Monani (Ally), Gettysburg College

268. Jim Igoe (Ally), University of Virginia, Department of Anthropology

269. Rocío Quispe-Agnoli Quechua (Ally), Professor of Colonial Latin American Studies, Michigan State University

270. Jacqueline Cieslak (Ally), PhD Student in Anthropology, University of Virginia

271. Mary Black (Ally), Adaptation Program Manager, Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions, University of Arizona

272. Kenny Roundy (Ally), PhD Student, History of Science, School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University

273. Bill Tripp (Karuk Tribe) Deputy Director of Eco-cultural Revitalization

274. Michael O’Rourke (Ally), Department of Philosophy and AgBioResearch, Michigan State University

275. Eudora Claw (Navajo/Zuni), University of Nevada Las Vegas

276. Ruth Dan Stebbins, Community Association, Yup’ik Student

277. Kathryn Goodwin (Blackfeet), Los Angeles, CA

278. Dr. May-Britt Öhman (Lule Forest Sámi – FennoScandia), Researcher, Uppsala University, Sweden

279. Sierra Deutsch (Ally), PhD Candidate, Environmental, Sciences, Studies, and Policy. University of Oregon

280. Leilani Sabzalian (Alutiiq), Postdoctoral Scholar of Indigenous Studies in Education, University of Oregon

281. Elizabeth Ann R. Bird (Ally) – Spec. Fort Peck Tribes Montana State University Project Development Specialist

282. Jason Schreiner (Ally), Instructor, Environmental Studies Program, University of Oregon

283. Dr. Chris Clements (Ally), Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University

284. Edith Leoso (Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa), Tribal Historic Preservation Officer

285. Jandi Craig (White Mountain Apache), Apache Behavioral Health Services

286. Coach Glen Bennett (Grand Traverse Bay Ottawa& Chippewa), Archery Coach Program Coordinator Michigan State University

287. Stacey Goguen (Ally), Northeastern Illinois University

288. Jennifer Sowerwine (Ally), Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist, Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley

289. Angelica De Jesus (Ally), Graduate Student, Ford School of Public Policy

290. Theresa Duello (Ally), Associate Professor, University of WI Madison

291. Mike Chang (Ally), Makah Tribe

292. Natalie Gray (Ally), City of Seattle

293. Gyda Swaney (Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation), Department of Psychology, University of Montana

294. Dr. Theresa May (Ally), University of Oregon

295. Ida Hoequist (Ally), Graduate Student, University of Virginia

296. Stephen P. Gasteyer (Ally), Department of Sociology, Michigan State University

297. Dr. Rachel Fredericks (Ally), Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Ball State University

298. Monica List (Ally), Animal Welfare Specialist- Compassion in World Farming

299. Keith R. Peterson (Ally), Associate Professor, Colby College, Department of Philosophy

300. Corey Welch (Northern Cheyenne), SACNAS

301. Kathy Lynn (Ally), University of Oregon

302. Agnes Attakai (Navajo), Director Health Disparities College of Public Health/ Director of AZ INMED Medicine University of Arizona

303. Kirsten Vinyeta (Ally), Doctoral Student in Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon

304. Amanda Boetzkes (Ally), University of Guelph

305. Princess Daazhraii Johnson (Neets’aii Gwich’in), Holistic Approach to Sustainable Northern Communities, Cold Climate Housing Research Center

306. Dr. Sarah Fortner (Ally), Assistant Professor of Geology & Environmental Science, Wittenberg University

307. Colin Weaver (Ally), University of Chicago

308. Kristin Searle (Ally), Utah State University

309. fleur palmer (te Rarawa and Te Aupouri), auckland university of technology

310. Dr. Jeremy Schultz (Ally), Eastern Washington University

311. Rosemary Bierbzum (Ally)

312. Holly Hunts, Ph.D. (Ally), Montana State University

313. Maureen Biermann (Ally), Instructor and PhD Candidate

314. Ben Geboe (Yankton Sioux), Executive Director

315. Vanessa Hiratsuka, PhD MPH (Dine/Winnemem Wintu), Health Services Researcher

316. Beth Rose Middleton (Ally), Assoc. Professor, Native American Studies, UC Davis

317. Brian J. Teppen (Ally), Professor of Soil chemistry, Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University

318. Adam Fix (Ally), PhD Candidate, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

319. Sheree Chase M.A. (Ally), Regional Historian

320. Osprey Orielle Lake (Ally), Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, (WECAN)

321. Megan A.Crouse (Ally), Hospice Maui

322. Craig Kauffman (Ally), Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Oregon

323. Alex Poisson (Ally), Sustainability Coordinator / SUNY-ESF

324. Ashley Woody (Ally), University of Oregon

325. Brett Clark, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Utah

326. Naomi Scheman (Ally), Professor Emerita, University of Minnesota

327. Michael Ruiz (Ally), Graduate Student, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Boston Children’s Hospital – Department of Orthopedic Surgery

328. Shelly Vendiola (Swinomish Tribal Community), Community Engagement Facilitator

329. Elizabeth Gibbons (Ally), American Society of Adaptation Professionals

330. Kimla McDonald (Ally), The Cultural Conservancy

331. Kaya DeerInWater (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), Graduate Student, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

332. Nancy Lee Willet (Wampanoag), College of Marin

333. Julianne A. Hazlewood (Ally), University of California, Santa Cruz

334. Antoine Traisnel (Ally), University of Michigan

335. Dr. Julianne A. Hazlewood (Ally), Instructor, Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

336. Gleb Raygorodetsky (Ally), Biocultural Diversity Consultant

337. Amanda L. Kelley (Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone), University of Alaska Fairbanks

338. Iyekiyapiwin Darlene St. Clair (Bdewakantunwan Dakota), Associate Professor, St. Cloud State University

339. Angela Bowen (Coos), Director of Education

340. Meghan McClain (Ally), Tech–Microsoft

341. Wikuki Kingi (Maori / Hawaii), Cultural Symbologist / Master Indigenous Technologist / Navigator – Pou Kapua Creations; Planet Maori; TE HA Alliance

342. Tania Wolfgramm (Maori / Tonga), Cultural Psychologist / Systems Sculptor / Technologist / Evaluator – HAKAMANA; Pou Kapua Creations; TE HA Alliance; Smart Path Healthcare

343. Ann Marie Sayers (Costanoan/Ohlone.Indian Canyon Nation), Costanoan Indian Research……frounder

344. Robert L. Houle (Bad River Band of Lake Superior Indians), Executive Director of Bad River Housing Authority

345. Jason Stanley (Ally), Yale University

346. Marion Hourdequin (Ally), Associate Professor & Chair, Dept. of Philosophy, Colorado College

347. Sarah Kristine Baker (Muscogee Creek Nation/Euchee), Ally

348. Dr. Nicole Bowman (Mohican / Lenaape), Evaluator, University of WI Madison

349. Christian Cazares (Ally), Neuroscience Graduate Student

350. Roberta L Millstein (Ally), Professor of Philosophy, UC Davis

351. Janet Kourany (Ally), Department of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame

352. Dr. Elizabeth Minnich (Ally), A.A.C.& U.

353. Dominique M. Davíd-Chavez (Borikén Taíno), PhD Student Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Colorado State University

354. Kristin K’eit (Inupiaq/Tlingit), Environmental Scientist, Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Refining

355. Dr. Lorraine Code (Ally), Distinguished Research Professor, York University, Toronto, Canada

356. Erik Jensen (Ally), Michigan State University

357. Jerry Mander (Ally), Author, president Intl. Forum on Globalization

358. Forest Haven (Ts’msyen), PhD Student, Cultural Anthropology, University of California, Irvine

359. Margaret McCasland (Ally), Science educator; Earthcare Working Group, NYYM (Quaker)

360. Adam Briggle (Ally), University of North Texas

361. Irene Klaver (Ally), Professor of Philosophy, University of North Texas

362. Susannah R. McCandless, PhD (Ally), Global Diversity Foundation

363. Lona Sepessy (Ally), Librarian at Arrowhead Elementary School

364. Jason Smith (Ally), Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Fisheries Research

365. Dr. Luan Fauteck Makes Marks (SE Sioux, SE Algonquian, California Indian), Independent Researcher

366. Mariaelena Huambachano (Quechua), Postdoctoral Research Associate in American Studies and Ethnic Studies, Brown University

367. Jo Rodgers (Ally), Community Engagement Coordinator, Willamette Farm & Food Coalition

368. Lisa Rivera (Ally), Associate Professor, UMass Boston

369. Lea Foushee (Tsalagi), U of MN research

370. Carolyn Singer (Shoshone-Bannock Tribe), N/A

371. Dr. Dan Shilling (Ally), Retired foundation director

372. Dr. Sibyl Diver (Ally), Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford University

373. Jeffrey McCarthy (Ally), Environmental Humanities, Utah

374. Kristin J. Jacobson (Ally), Stockton University

375. Elise Dela Cruz -Talbert (Native Hawaiian), University of Hawaii

376. Barbara Sawyer-Koch (Ally), Trustee Emerita, Michigan State University

377. Richard E.W. Berl (Ally), Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Colorado State University

378. Ahmed Lyadib (Amazigh Morocco), Amazigh

379. Paige West (Ally), Barnard College and Columbia University

380. Jocelyn Delgado (Ally), UCSC Undergraduate researcher

381. Dr Krushil Watene (Maori, Tonga), Massey University

382. Jonathan Tsou (Ally), Iowa State University

383. David Naguib Pellow (Ally), University of California, Santa Barbara

384. Hafsa Mustafa (Ally), Researcher/Evaluator/Adjunct Faculty

385. Felica Ahasteen-Bryant (Diné), Director, Native American Educational and Cultural Center (NAECC), Purdue University and Chapter Advisor, Purdue AISES

386. Jess Bier (Ally), Erasmus University

387. Eun Kang, Environmental Studies, Korea Maritime & Ocean University

388. Gary Martin (Ally), Global Diversity Foundation

389. Cara O’Connor (Ally), BMCC-CUNY

390. Katina Michael (Ally), University of Wollongong

391. Mary Elaine Kiener, RN, PhD (Ally), Creative Energy Officer, ASK ME House LLC

392. Heather Houser (Ally), UT Austin

393. Dr. Ken Wilson (Ally), Retired (ex-University of Oxford; Ford Foundation; Christensen Fund)

394. Alia Al-Saji (Ally), McGill University

395. Kim Díaz (Ally), USDOJ

396. Alice M. McMechen (Ally), Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Cornwall Monthly Meeting, NY

397. Gloria J Lowe (Cherokee Nation), Executive Director We Want Green, too

398. Cristian Ruiz Altaba (Ally), Biologist, Director of Llevant Natural Park ((Mallorca)

399. Brian and Iris Stout (Ally and Cherokee Nation), Forester and Author

400. Noelle Romero (Ally), UNC-CH Program Coordinator

401. Kathryn Krasinski (Ally), Adelphi University

402. Jane Cross (Ally), physician

403. Katie McShane (Ally), Associate Professor of Philosophy, Colorado State University

404. Nicole Seymour (Ally), Assistant Professor of English and Affiliated Faculty in Environmental Studies and Queer Studies, Cal State Fullerton

405. Marsha Small (Northern Cheyenne), Adjunct Instructor, Bozeman, MT

406. D.S. Red Haircrow (Chiricahua Apache/Cherokee) Writer, Psychologist, Master’s Student Native American Studies, Montana State University, Bozeman

407. Dr. John V. Stone (Ally), Applied Anthropologist, MSU

408. Paul Cook (Ally), Electro-Optical Scientist

409. Jennifer Mokos (Ally), Ohio Wesleyan University Dept. of Geology & Geography

410. James Matthew McCullough (Ally), North Central Michigan College

411. Vicki Lindabury (Ally), New York State Certified Dietitian Nutritionist

412. Roben Itchoak (Mary’s Igloo), Student, University of Oregon

413. Kath Weston (Ally/Romani), University of Virginia

414. Kelly Wisecup (Ally), Northwestern University

415. Becky Neher (Ally), University of Georgia

416. Sarah D. Wald (Ally), University of Oregon

417. Jill Grant (Ally), Environmental lawyer

418. Joseph Len Miller (Muscogee [Creek] Nation). University of Washington, Seattle

419. Richard Peterson (Ally), Professor Emeritus Michigan State University

420. Kevin Fellezs (Kanaka Maoli – Native Hawaiian), Columbia University

421. Jessica M. Moss (Ally), Georgia State University, Tribal Liaison

422. Christina Ferwerda (Ally), Independent Exhibit & Curriculum Developer

423. Lindsay MArean (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), University of Oregon

424. Andrea Catacora (Ally), Archaeologist

425. Cassie Warholm-Wohlenhaus (Ally)

426. Catriona Sandilands (Ally), Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

427. Dr. Johnnye Lewis (Ally), Director, Community Environmental Health Program, University of New Mexico

428. Julie Williams (Ally), Consulting Archaeologist

429. Kerri Finlayson (Ally), North Central Michigan College

430. Alan Zulch (Ally), Tamalpais Trust

431. Ivette Perfecto (Ally), University of Michigan

432. Emily Jean Leischner (Ally), Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia

433. Megan Carney (Ally), University of Washington

434. Andrea Catacora (Ally), Archaeologist

435. Janette Bulkan (Ally), University of British Columbia

436. Jillian Mayer, Master of Science candidate

437. Nancy Marie Mithlo, Ph.D. (Chiricahua Apache [Ft. Sill Apache]), Associate Professor, Occidental College and Chair of American Indian Studies, Autry Museum of the American West

438. Hayden Hedman (Cherokee Nation), University of Michigan

439. Juliet P. Lee (Ally), Prevention Research Center, PIRE

440. Kaitlin McCormick (Ally), Postdoctoral Researcher (Anthropology and Museum Studies) Brown University

441. Nancy Rosoff (Ally), Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator Arts of the Americas Brooklyn Museum

442. Kathryn Shanley (Nakoda), Native American Studies, University of Montana

443. Robin Morris Collin (Ally), Norma J. Paulus Professor of Law Willamette University College of Law

444. Albany Jacobson Eckert (Bad River Lake Superior Chippewa), University of Michigan

445. Lois Ellen Frank (Kiowa/Sephardic), Native American Chef/Owner Red Mesa Cuisine/Native Foods Historian/Educator/Adjunct Professor Institute of American Indian Arts

446. John Grim (Ally), Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

447. Don McIntyre (Anishinabek), Professor University of Lethbridge

448. Robert B. Richardson (Ally), Associate Professor, Michigan State University

449. Craig Hassel (Ally), University of Minnesota

450. Melinda J McBride (Ally), Anthropologist

451. Saori Ogura (Ally), University of British Columbia

452. Dr. Paulette Faith Steeves (Cree-Metis), UMASS Amherst

453. Mary Hynes (Ally), University of Illinois

454. Dr. Robert J. David- Indigenous Archaeologist (Klamath Tribes), Visiting Scholar, University of California Berkeley

455. Max Gordon (Ally), SUNY-ESF, Biomimicry Club President

456. Mechelle Clark (Chippewas of Stoney Point First Nation), Student, Western University

457. Marijke Stoll (Ally), PhD Candidate, Univesity of Arizona

458. inanc tekguc (ally), Global Diversity Foundation

459. Kevin J. O’Brien (Ally), Pacific Lutheran University

460. Dr. M.A. (Peggy) Smith (Cree), Vice-Provost (Aboriginal Initiatives), Lakehead University

461. Catherine V. Howard, Ph.D. (Ally), Independent Scholar

462. Robert Alexander Innes (Plains Cree/Saulteaux/Metis), Associate Professor, Department of Indigenous Studies, University of Saskatchewan

463. Joy Hendry Scot, Professor Emerita, Oxford Brookes University

464. Catherine V. Howard, Ph.D. (Ally), Independent Scholar

465. Kimberly Yazzie (Navajo), University of Washington

466. Heather Rose MacIsaac (Ally), Graduate Student of Applied Archaeology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania

467. Gabi May (Metis), University of Michigan

468. Dr Raquel Thomas-Caesar, North Rupununi District Development Board, Iwokrama International Centre For Rain Forest Conservation and Joy Bloser Ally New York University, Conservation Center

469. Kirby Gchachu (Zuni Pueblo), Retired Educator, Chaco Canyon Archeoastonomy Researcher

470. Dr. John Tuxill (Ally) Fairhaven College, Western Washington University

471. Barbara A. Roy (“Bitty”) (Ally), Professor, University of Oregon

472. Justin Lawson (Ally), University of Washington

473. Joanne Barker (Lenape), San Francisco State University

474. Angela A. McComb (Ally), Student, MA Public Archaeology, Binghamton University

475. Donna Tocci (Ally), Field Museum of Natural History (former)

476. Paul McCullough (Ally), retired

477. Dr. Annie Belcourt (Mandan Hidatsa Blackfeet Chippewa), Associate Professor

478. Penelope Myrtle Kelsey (Seneca descent), University of Colorado at Boulder

479. Wendy McConkey (Ally), Cross Cultural Sharing & Learning

480. Kristina M. Hill (Ally), M.A. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, East Carolina University

481. Mark Dowie (Ally), Author: The Haida Gwaii Lesson (Inkshares Press 2017)

482. Dara Shore (Ally), NPS

483. Dr. Brady Heiner (Ally), Assistant Professor of Philosophy, California State University, Fullerton

484. Avni Pravin (Ally), University of Oregon

485. Janice Klein (Ally) M.A., University of Birmingham (U.K.)

486. René Herrera (Ally), University of South Florida

487. Kevin Chang, Executive Director Kua’aina Ulu ‘Auamo (KUA)

488. Celina Solis-Becerra (Ally), PhD Student. University of British Columbia.

489. Gregory Armstrong (Ally), Holy Wisdom Monastery

490. Aurora Kagawa-Viviani (Hawaiian, Pauoa, Oʻahu), graduate student, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

491. Nerissa Russell (Ally), Cornell University

492. Joshua Dickinson (Ally), Forest Management Trust

493. Kristie Dotson (Ally), Michigan State University

494. Dominique M. Davíd-Chavez (Borikén Taíno), Indigenous Outlier (Grad Student), Colorado State University Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, NSF Graduate Research Fellow

495. Dr. Virginia Nickerson (Ally), Independent consulting researcher

496. Dr. Christa Mulder (Ally), University of Alaska Faribanks

497. Shu-Guang, Li Civil and Environmental Engineeing Michigan State University

498. Andrea Godoy (Shinnecock), Southampton, NY

499. Randolph Haluza-DeLay (Ally-US citizen), The King’s University

500. Sharyn Clough, PhD (Ally), Professor, co-director Phronesis Lab Oregon State University

501. Richard McCoy (Ally), Landmark Columbus

502. J. Saniguq Ullrich (Nome Eskimo Community), PhD student

503. Dr . Kat Napaaqtuk Milligan-Myhre (Inupiaq), University of Alaska Anchorage

504. Kaitlin McCormick (Ally), Postdoctoral Researcher, Anthropology and Museum Studies, Brown University

505. Kim Harrison (Ally), Professional Archaeologist

506. Penny Davies (Cymraeg Welsh), Ford Foundation

507. Erin Turner (Ally), MFA candidate in Social Practice at Queens College CUNY

508. Meagan Dennison (Ally), Graduate student

509. Deborah Webster (Onondaga Nation), Nedrow, New York

510. Kaipo Dye, MS – Columbia University (Native Hawaiian), University of Hawaii at Mania, Hawaii Community College – OCET

511. Philip Mohr (Ally), Curator, Des Plaines History Center

512. Jessica Brunacini (Ally), The Earth Institute, Columbia University

513. Dominic Van Horn (Ally), Shelby County Schools

514. Rosanna ʻAnolani Alegado (Kanaka ʻoiwi/Hawaiʻi), Assistant Professor, Oceanography, University of Hawaiʻi

515. Bryan Ness (Ally), Pacific Union College

516. Joni Adamson, PhD (Ally), Environmental Humanities and Sustainability

517. Dr. Michelle Garvey (Ally), Instructor: Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies, UMN

518. Sydney Jordan (Ally)

519. John-Carlos Perea (Mescalero Apache, Irish, Chicano, German), Associate Professor, American Indian Studies, College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University

520. Huamani Orrego (Ally), Master’s student

521. Giancarlo Rolando (Ally), University of Virginia

522. Dr. Jessica Bissett Perea (Dena’ina – Knik Tribe) Assistant Professor of Native American Studies, University of California Davis

523. Julie Skurski (Ally), Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center

524. Dr. Linda Marie Richards (Ally), Historian of Science, Oregon State University

525. Eric Thomas Weber (Ally), The University of Kentucky

526. Sarah Jaquette Ray (Ally), Humboldt State University

527. Nan Kendy (Ally), Green Party of British Columbia

528. James Sterba (Ally), Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame

529. Katie McKendry (Ally), George Washington University

530. Waaseyaa’sin Christine Sy (Lac Seul First Nation – Ojibway), Lecturer, Gender Studies

531. Miriam MacGillis (Ally), Director, Genesis Farm

532. Miriam Saperstein (Ally), Student at the University of Michigan

533. Emily-Bell Dinan (Ally), Graduate Student, Environmental Studies, University of Oregon

534. Danielle Kiesow (Ally), Indiana University of Pennsylvania

535. L. Irene Terry (Ally), University of Utah

536. Ann Allen (Ally), Independent Scholar, affiliated to Auckland University of Technology

537. Eleanor Sterling (Ally), Columbia University

538. Sandy Barringer (Ally), Reiki Master, Pranic Healer Level III, Shaman

539. Dr. Stacy Alaimo (Ally), Professor of English

540. Jennifer Shannon (Ally), University of Colorado

541. Eun Sook, Professor Environmental Policies

542. Mariaelena Huambachano (Quechua), Postdoctoral Research Associate in American and Ethnic Studies, Brown University

543. Janet Lyon (Ally), Associate Professor

544. Cassandra Bloedel (Navajo), Environmental Sciences and Conservation et al

545. Alaka Wali (Ally), Curator, The Field Museum

546. Sandra Luo (Ally), Middlebury College

547. Lesley k. Iaukea (Native Hawaiian), PhD student, University of Hawaii

548. John White (Ally), Tulane University, Community-based Conservation of Amazonian Food Plants Genetic Resources and Associated Indigenous Knowledge

549. Travis Fink (Ally), PhD Student, Anthropology, Tulane University

550. Eleanor Weisman (Ally), Allegheny College

551. Dr Albert Refiti (Samoa), Auckland University of Technology

552. Sheila Contreras (Ally), Associate Professor, Michigan State University

553. Eduardo Mendieta (Ally), Penn State University

554. Tim van den Boog (Arawak/Trio, Suriname), UBC

555. David Skrbina (Ally), Professor of Philosophy, University of Michigan (Dearborn)

556. Mark Sicoli (Ally), University of Virginia

557. Belinda Ramírez (Ally), Sociocultural Anthropology PhD Student, UC San Diego

558. Teri Micco (Ally), Artist

559. Wayne Riggs (Ally), Philosophy Department, University of Oklahoma

560. John Norder (Spirit Lake Tribe), Michigan State University

561. Dimitris Stevis (Ally), Colorado State University

562. Sherry Copenace (Anishinaabe), Ikwe

563. Associate Professor Deirdre Tedmanson (Ally), University of South Australia

564. Rebecca Albury (Ally), University of Wollongong (retired)

565. Dr. Tanya Peres (Ally), Anthroplogy

566. Laurie Begin (American – Ally), Occupational therapy

567. Lauren Nuckols (Ally), Penn State University

568. Jade Johnson (Navajo Nation), Undergraduate Research Assistant

569. Diane Thompson (Ally), Keeper of the home

570. Beverly Bell (Ally), Other Worlds

571. Ian Werkheiser (Ally), University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

572. Leana Hosea (Ally), Journalist

573. Paul Edward Montgomery Ramírez (Mankemé), University of York

574. Heather Davis (Ally), Penn State

575. Dr. David L. Mausel (Mvskoke), Forest ecologist, MTE

576. Catherine V. Howard, Ph.D. (Ally), Social Research Editing Services

577. B.T. Kimoto (Ally), Emory University

578. Sara Saba (Ally), Emory University

579. Maria Luisa Ciminelli (Ally), independent scholar

580. Sarah Buie (Ally), Professor Emerita, Clark University

581. Dave McCormick (Ally), PhD student, anthropology, Yale University

582. Michael D. Doan (Ally), Eastern Michigan University

583. Dr Tracey Mcintosh (Tuhoe, Aotearoa New Zealand ), Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, University of Auckland

584. Kelsey Amos (Ally), University of Hawaiʻi

585. Bob Rabin (Ally), Research meteorologist & student, Ilisagvik University

586. Julie Cotton, MS (Ally), Michigan State University, Sustainable Agriculture

587. Lisa Kretz (Ally), Assistant Professor, University of Evansville

588. Kiri Del;l (Ngati Porou), The University of Auckland

589. Carol Cooperrider (Ally), Former Archaeologist, retired Explora Science Center Graphic Designer

590. Darin Thomas (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), Graduate Student

591. Shawndina Etcitty (Navajo) Medical Laboratory Technician in Flow Cytometry and Hematology

592. Wyatt Musashi Maui Bartlett (Hawaiian ), Student

593. Sharon Ziegler-Chong (Ally), University of Hawaii at Hilo

594. Christine Winter (Ngāti Kahungunu), PhD Candidate

595. Alex Winter-Billington (Ngāti Kahungunu), PhD Candidate

596. Roberto Domingo Toledo (Ally), Independent Researcher (Philosophy and Sociology))

597. Steve Hemming (Ally), Associate Professor Flinders University

598. Kaushalya Munda (Bharat Munda Samaj, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India), M.A Sociology, & LLB.

599. Dana Dudle (Ally), DePauw University

600. Don Ihde, (Ally), Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Stony Brook University, NY, USA

601. Shobita Parthasarathy (Ally), University of Michigan

602. Suzanne Held (Ally), Professor of Community Health, Montana State University

603. Dr. Michael L. Naylor (Ally), Comprehensive Studies Program, University of Michigan, “Our World” Life-Skills Project, Washtenaw Community College

604. Jeremy Narby, Ph. D. (Ally), Nouvelle Planète

605. David Isaac (Ally), JD Student University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law

606. Dr. Raynald Harvey Lemelin (Ally), Lakehead University

607. Doug Medin (Ally), Professor of Psychology and Education and Social Policy

608. Dr. Michael Menser (Ally), Department of Philosophy, Brooklyn College, Earth and Environmental Science, CUNY Graduate Center; President of the Board, Participatory Budgeting Project

609. Dr. Sylvia Hood Washington (Piscataway,Creek,Cherokee Descendant), Editor in Chief Environmental Justice Journal

610. Susanna Donaldson, PhD (Ally), West Virginia University

611. Jessica Robinson (Ally), University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and the Environment

612. Robert Craycraft (Ally), M.A Anthrpology student, American University

613. Daniel L. Dustin (Ally), University of Utah

614. Dr. Nanibaa’ Garrison (Navajo), Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Seattle Children’s Research Institute and University of Washington

615. Elizabeth V. Spelman (Ally), Professor of Philosophy, Smith College

616. Patricia Kim (Ally), University of Pennsylvania

617. Timoteo Mesh (Yucatec Maya), PhD Candidate, University of Florida

618. Rebecca Hardin (Ally), University of Michigan

619. Allison Guess (Black collaborator), PhD Student

620. Natalie Sampson (Ally), University of Michigan

621. Alissa Baker-Oglesbee (Cherokee Nation), Northwestern University

622. Montana Stevenson (Ally), Student, School of Natural Resources and Environment/School of Business, University of Michigan

623. Dr. Leah Temper (Ally), Autonomous University of Barcelona

624. Allison Guess (Black collaborator), CUNY Grad Center program of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Human Geography)

625. Sara Smith (Oneida), Natural resource technician for Stockbridge-Munsee Community

626. Dr. Wendi A Haugh (Ally), Associate Professor of Anthropology, St. Lawrence University

627. Micha Rahder (Ally), Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Louisiana State University

628. Susan Knoppow (Ally), Wow Writing Workshop

629. Noah Theriault (Ally), University of Oklahoma

630. Alyssa Cudmore (Ally), Graduate Student

631. Adam J Pierce (Ally), PhD. Student Integrated Bioscience

632. Stephanie Diane Pierce (Ally), Biomimicry and education, content developer

633. Alex Peters (Ally), University of Michigan

634. Beverly Naidus (Ally), Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington, Tacoma

635. Tatiana Schreiber (Ally), Adjunct Faculty, Environmental Studies, Keene State College

636. Amy Michael (Ally), Albion College

637. Clement Loo (Ally), University of Minnesota, Morris

638. Johanna Fornberg (Ally), Graduate Student

639. Mike Ilardi (Ally), University of Michigan

640. Matt Samson (Ally)

641. Gabrielle Hecht (Ally), University of Michigan

642. Elizabeth Damon (Ally), Director Keepers of the Water

643. Erica Jones (Ally), Independent Scholar

644. Omayra Ortega

645. Roy Clarke (Ally), University of Michigan

646. Thomas Bretz (Ally), Utah Valley University

647. Les Field, Jewish University of New Mexico

648. Cassidy A. Dellorto-Blackwell (Ally), University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment

649. Lee Bloch (Ally), University of Virginia

650. Dale Petty (Ally), Professional Faculty, Advanced Manufacturing, Washtenaw Community College

651. Sofiya Shreyer (Ally), Anthropology Department, Bridgewater State University

652. Gordon Henry (White Earth Anishinaabe), Poet, Senior Editor, American Indian Studies Series, MSU Press

653. Joshua Lockyer, Ph.D. (Ally), Arkansas Tech University

654. bonnie chidester (ally), nurse community builder

655. Chris Fremantle (Ally), Edinburgh College of Art

656. Eric Boynton (Ally), Allegheny College

657. R. Eugene Turner (Ally), Louisiana State University

658. Kate Chapel (Ally), University of Michigan

659. Alex Kinzer (Ally), University of Michigan

660. K. Arthur Endsley (Ally), PhD Candidate, University of Michigan

661. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman (Ally), Senior Scientist, Pesticide Action Network

662. Braden Elliott (Ally), PhD Candidate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Dartmouth College

663. Dr. Yogi Hale Hendlin (Ally), Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of California, San Francisco

664. Robert Geroux (Blackfeet [Amskapi Pikuni] descent), IUPUI

665. Brianna Bull Shows (Crow), Student researcher

666. Grace Ndiritu (Ally), Visual Artist

667. Sarah Barney (Ally), University of Michigan

668. Richard Tucker (Ally), University of Michigan

669. Andrew Kinzer (Ally), University of Michigan – School of Natural Resources and Environment

670. Iokiñe Rodriguez (Ally) to Latin American Indigenous Peoples), Senior Lecturer, School of International Development, University of East Anglia

671. Kim Nace (Ally), Rich Earth Institute

672. Laura Baker (Ally), Marketing

673. Melissa Wallace (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa), Information Technology

674. Jame Schaefer, Ph.D. (Ally), Marquette University

675. Schuyler Chew (Mohawk, Six Nations of the Grand River), Doctoral Student, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, University of Arizona

676. Annie Mandart (Ally), from Tuscarora Nation), Academic Affairs, Daemen College

677. Steve Breyman (Ally), Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

678. Courtney Carothers (Ally), University of Alaska

679. Dr. Renee A. Botta Ally Associate Professor, Global Health and Development Communication, University of Denver

680. Gregory Smithers (Ally), Virginia Commonwealth University

681. Jasmine Pawlicki (Sokaogon Band of Lake Superior Chippewa), Graduate Student-University of Arizona; Information Resources Assistant Sr.-University of Michigan Library Operations

682. Emily Blackmer (Ally), Former research assistant at Dartmouth College

683. Michael E. Bird MSW-MPH (Santo Domingo/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo), Past President American Public Health Association

684. Kelli Herr (Ally), Student at Penn State University

685. Lilly Fink Shapiro (Ally), University of Michigan

686. Dr. Kelly S Bricker (Ally), The University of Utah, Parks, Recreation, and Tourism

687. Jim Maffie (Ally), University of Maryland

688. Basia Irland (Ally), Professor Emerita, UNM

689. Kelly S Bricker (Ally), University of Utah

690. Anapaula Bazan Munoz (Ally), Pennsylvania State University

691. Blaire Topash-Caldwell (Pokagon Band of Potawatomi), University of New Mexico

692. Todd Mitchell (Swinomish Environmental Director), Swinomish Department of Environmental Protection

693. Elizabeth H Simmons (Ally), Michigan State University, Department of Physics & Astronomy

694. Malia Naeole-Takasato (Kanaka Maoli), Educator

695. Joseph Paki (Ally), University of Michigan

696. J D Wainwright (Ally), Ohio State University

697. Fatma Müge Göçek (Ally), Professor of Sociology

698. Jennifer Welchman (Ally), Professor of Philosophy, University of Alberta

699. Kimber Dawson (Descendant of Fort Peck Assiniboine Sioux and Colville Confederated Tribes) The Pennsylvania State University

700. Kennan Ferguson (Ally), Center for 21st Century Studies, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

701. Amara Geffen (Ally) Allegheny College

702. Dennis Kirchoff (Ally), Engineer

703. Nathan Martin (Oneida of Wi and Menominee), ASU graduate

704. Dr. Elizabeth DeLoughrey (Ally), Professor, University of California

705. Peter Kozik (Ally), Keuka College

706. Raymond De Young (Ally), University of Michigan

707. Amelie Huber (Ally), PhD Candidate, Institute of Environmental Science & Technology, Autonomous University Barcelona

708. Janet Fiskio (Ally), Oberlin College

709. Stacey Tecot (Ally), University of Arizona

710. Kate A. Berry (Ally), University of Nevada, Reno

711. Alice Elliott (Ally), Master’s candidate, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment

712. Vitor Machado Lira (Ally), Circlepoint/ University of Michigan

713. Chris Karounos (Ally), Master’s Student University of Michigan

714. Agustin Fuentes (Ally), University of Notre Dame

715. Sally Haslanger (Ally), Ford Professor of Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

716. Bonnie Mennell (Ally), Educator

717. Tim Richardson (Uyak Natives, inc), Government Affairs consultant

718. April Richards (Ally), University of Michigan

719. Melissa Watkinson (Chickasaw), University of Washington

720. Sharon Traweek (Ally), UCLA

721. Stefano Varese (Ally), Professor Emeritus of NAS-UC Davis

722. Dr. MJ Hardman (Jaqi people of South America, Jaqaru – Tupe, Yauyos, Lima, Perú), U of Florida (emeritus)

723. Jamie Beck Alexander (Ally), Nest.org

724. Eric Palmer (Ally), Allegheny College

725. Dr. Chellie Spiller (Maori – Ngati Kahungunu), University of Auckland

726. Margaret Susan Draskovich Mete (Ally), Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA); Indigenous Studies PhD student at University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)

727. Anne Elise Stratton (Ally), University of Michigan

728. Frederique Apffel-Marglin (Ally), Smith College, Dept of Anthropology (Emeritus)

729. Diana Chapman Walsh (Ally), President emerita, Wellesley College

730. . Kristina Meshelski (Ally), California State University, Northridge

731. sean kelly (ally), CIIS

732. Mike Fortun (Ally), Department of Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

733. Chris Mcbride (Pākehā / Walking alongside /Ally), Curator/Artist The Kauri Project Aotearoa

734. Neal Salisbury (Ally), Barbara Richmond 1940 Professor Emeritus in the Social Sciences (History) Smith College

735. Marie Berry (Ally), University of Denver

736. Ursula K Heise (Ally), Marcia H. Howard Chair in Literary Studies, Department of English and Institute of the Environment & Sustainability, UCLA

737. Vanda Radzik (Ally), Associate of the Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation & Development

738. Pete Westover (Ally), Adjunct Professor of Ecology, Hampshire College

739. Dr. Christina Holmes (Ally), DePauw University

740. Mike Burbidge (Ally), University of Michigan

741. Richard J Kulibert (Ally), Nannyberry Native Plants

742. Katherine Gordon (Ally), University of California Riverside

743. Dr. Chaone Mallory (Ally), Discursive Activist

744. Linda Ayre de Varese (Ally), Artist and Teacher

745. Dr. Claudia J. Ford (Non Citizen Cherokee), Faculty, Rhode Island School of Design

746. Dr. Chaone Mallory (Ally), Associate Professor of Environmental Philosophy

747. Joy Hannibal (Belauan/Palauan), Academic Advisor, Michigan State University

748. Marina Zurkow (Ally), artist and educator, ITP, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU

749. Luisa Maffi (Ally), Terralingua

750. Denise Burchsted (Ally), Assistant Professor, Keene State College

751. Lindy Labriola (Ally), Student

752. Beth Preston (Ally), Professor of Philosophy, University of Georgia

753. Eaton Asher (Ally), Western UniversityEric Ederer Ally Public Health MPH

754. Andrew Ross (Ally), Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU

755. sakej younblood henderson (Chickasaw), Native Science Academy

756. Amy Kuʻuleialoha Stillman (Native Hawaiian), University of Michigan

757. Gretel Ehrlich (Ally: Inuit), Published writer

758. Watson Puiahi (Areare Namo Araha Council of Chief), ILukim Sustainability Solomon Islands

759. David Schlosberg (Ally), University of Sydney, Sydney Environment Institute

760. Jean Jackson (Ally), Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

761. Julie Gaffarel (Ally), Agronomist and doula

762. Antonina Griecci Woodsum (Ally), Columbia University Graduate Student

763. Todd May (Ally), Clemson University

764. Kathleen Dean Moore (Ally), Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Oregon State University

765. Phil Rees (Ally), Terralingua

766. Dr. J. Lin Compton, PhD (Cherokee, Mohawk ), Professor Emeritus, University of Wiscosinnsin

767. Kristina Anderson (Ally), Graduate Student

768. August Pattiselanno (Ambonese), Agribusiness Department, Faculty of Agricultural, Pattimura University

769. Susana Nuccetelli (Ally), St. Cloud State University

770. Khadijah Jacobs (Navajo Nation), Student at UNM

771. Gary Seay (Ally), Medgar Evers College/CUNY

772. Thomas K Seligman (Ally), Stanford University

773. Hiram Larew, Ph.D. (Ally), Retired, US Department of Agriculture

774. Joan Baron (Ally), environmental artist

775. Lisa Heldke (Ally), Professor of Philosophy; Director, Nobel Conference, Gustavus Adolphus College

776. Chad Okulich (Ally), Teacher

777. Liza Grandia (Ally), Associate Professor, Department of Native American Studies, UC-Davis

778. Rebecca Alexander (Ally), Assistant Professor of Education Studies, DePauw University

779. Larry Beck, Ph.D. (Ally), San Diego State University

780. Dr. Kevin Elliott (Ally), Associate Professor in Lyman Briggs College, Dept. of Fisheries & Wildlife, and Dept. of Philosophy, Michigan State University

781. Amanda Meier (Ally), PhD Candidate, University of Michigan

782. Dr. Bruce D. Martin (Ally), The Pennsylvani State University

783. Janie Simms Hipp, JD, LLM (Chickasaw), Director, Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, University of Arkansas School of Law

784. Philip Deloria (Dakota), University of Michigan

785. Geoffrey Johnson (Ally), University of Oregon

786. Dr. James Crowfoot (Ally), Professor and Dean Emeritus, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan

787. Gregory J. Marsano (Ally), Environmental Law and Policy Student, Vermont Law School

788. Dominic Bednar (Black), University of Michigan, Doctoral student

789. Devin Hansen (Sugpiaq), Forestry

790. Shona Ramchandani (Ally), Science Museum of Minnesota

791. Dr. Sean Kerins (Ally), Fellow, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, The Australian National University

792. Jill Hernandez (Ally), Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas at San Antonio

793. John Grey (Ally), Michigan State University

794. Ann Regan (Ally), Minnesota Historical Society Press

795. Nancy Rich (Ally), Adjunct Professor, Environmental Biology, Springfield Technical Community College

796. Dr. Florence Vaccarello Dunkel (Sicilian Ally), Associate Professor of Entomology, Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology,Montana State University

797. Melissa Krug (Allly), Temple University

798. Joan Carling (Kankanaey-Igorot), Former member- Expert member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

799. Dennis Longknife Jr (Ally), Tribal Climate Change Scientist

800. Char Jensen (Ally), Naturopathic Physician, Spiritual Advisor, Teacher, Mentor

801. Guillermo Delgado-P. (Quechua linguistics), Anthropology Department, Univ. of California Santa Cruz

802. Georgina Cullman (Ally), American Museum of Natural History

803. Dr. Elizabeth Allison (Ally), California Institute of Integral Studies

804. Jeff Peterson (Alutiiq tribe of Old Harbor), Tourism business owner

805. Kris Sealey (Ally), Associate Professor of Philosophy, Fairfield University

806. Elizabeth Hoover (Mohawk/Mi’kmaq), Assistant Professor of American Studies, Brown University

807. David H. Kim (Ally), U of San Francisco

808. Jamie Holding Eagle (Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation), North Dakota State University

809. Dr. David L. Secord (Ally), University of Washington, Simon Fraser University, and Barnacle Strategies Consulting

810. Susanna B Hecht (Ally), UCLA and Graduate Institute for International Development,. Geneva

811. Raquell Holmes (Ally), Founder, improvscience; Assistant Research Prof. Boston University

812. Shakara Tyler (Ally), Graduate Student, Michigan State University

813. Irene Perez Llorente (Ally), UNAM

814. Christina Callicott (Ally), University of Florida

815. Julie Marckel (Ally), Science Museum of Minnesota

816. Elsa Hoover (Algonquin Anishinaabe), Columbia University

817. Jennifer Gardy (Ally), University of British Columbia

818. Nicole Sukdeo (Ally), University of Northern British Columbia

819. Kristina Mani (Ally), Oberlin College

820. Ricky Bell (Ngāti Hine, Aotearoa – New Zealand), University of Otago

821. Kimberly Danny (Navajo), Ph.D. Student, University of Arizona

822. Samuel M. ʻOhukaniʻōhiʻa Gon III (Hawaiian), The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi; University of Hawaiʻi

823. Yi Deng (Ally), Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of North Georgia

824. Noelani Puniwai (Kanaka Maoli), University of Hawaii at Manoa

825. Yiran Emily Liu (Ally), Undergraduate Student Researcher

826. Britt Baatjes (Ally), Researcher

827. Dr. Stephanie Aisha Steplight Johnson (Ally), Higher Education Administrator

828. Jennifer Gunn (Ally), University of Minnesota

829. Andrea R. Gammon (Ally), PhD Researcher

830. Darren J. Ranco, PhD (Penobscot), University of Maine

831. Mascha Gugganig (Ally), Munich Center for Technology in Society, Technical University Munich

832. Jessie Pauline Collins (Cherokee-Saponi), Citizens’ Resistance at Fermi 2 (CRAFT)Sophia

833. Efstathiou (Ally) Programme for Applied Ethics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

834. David Tomblin (Ally), Director: Science, Technology and Society Program, University of Maryland

What It’s Like Being a Sane Person on the House Science Committee (Gizmodo)

12/23/16 12:00pm

Artwork by Jim Cooke

Congressional Committee tweets don’t usually get much attention. But when the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology sent out a link to a Breitbart story claiming a “plunge” in global temperatures, people took notice. The takedowns flew in, from Slate and Bernie Sanders, from plenty of scientists, and most notably from the Weather Channel, which deemed Breitbart’s use of their meteorologist’s face worthy of a point-by-point debunking video.

There is nothing particularly noteworthy about Breitbart screwing up climate science, but the House Science Committee is among the most important scientific oversight bodies in the country. Since Texas Republican Lamar Smith took over its leadership in 2012, the Committee has spiraled down an increasingly anti-science rabbit hole: absurd hearings aimed at debunking consensus on global warming, outright witch hunts using the Committee’s subpoena power to intimidate scientists, and a Republican membership that includes some of the most anti-science lawmakers in the land.

The GOP’s shenanigans get the headlines, but what about the other side of the aisle? What is it like to be a member of Congress and sit on a science committee that doesn’t seem to understand science? What is it like to be an adult in a room full of toddlers? I asked some of the adults.

“I think it’s completely embarrassing,” said Mark Veasey, who represents Texas’s 33rd district, including parts of Dallas and Fort Worth. “You’re talking about something that 99.9 percent—if not 100 percent—of people in the legitimate science community says is a threat….To quote Breitbart over some of the most brilliant people in the world—and those are American scientists—and how they see climate change, I just think it’s a total embarrassment.”

Paul Tonko, who represents a chunk of upstate New York that includes Albany, has also called it embarrassing. “It is frustrating when you have the majority party of a committee pushing junk science and disproven myths to serve a political agenda,” he said. “It’s not just beneath the dignity of the Science Committee or Congress as a whole, it’s inherently dangerous. Science and research seek the truth—they don’t always fit so neatly with agendas.”

“I think it’s completely embarrassing.”

Suzanne Bonamici, of Oregon’s 1st District, also called it frustrating “to say the least” that the Committee “is spending time questioning climate researchers and ignoring the broad scientific consensus.” California Rep. Eric Swalwellcalled it the “Science” Committee in an email, and made sure I noted the air quotes. He said that in Obama’s first term, the Committee helped push forward on climate change and a green economy. “For the last four years, however, being on the Committee has meant defending the progress we’ve made.”

Frustration, embarrassment, a sense of Sisyphean hopelessness—this sounds like a grim gig. And Veasey also said that he doesn’t have much hope for a change in the Science Committee’s direction, because that change would have to come from the chairman. Smith has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign support from the oil and gas industry over the years, and somehow finds himself in even greater climate change denial than ExxonMobil.

And of course, it isn’t just the leadership. The League of Conservation Voters maintains a scorecard of every legislator in Congress: for 2015, the most recent year available, the average of all the Democratic members on the science committee is 92.75 percent (with 100 being a perfect environment-friendly score). On the GOP side of the aisle, the average is just over three percent.

(I reached out to a smattering of GOP members of the Committee to get their take on its recent direction. None of them responded.)

Bill Foster, who represents a district including some suburbs of Chicago, is the only science PhD in all of Congress (“I very often feel lonely,” he said, before encouraging other scientists to run for office). “Since I made the transition from science into politics not so long ago, I’ve become very cognizant of the difference between scientific facts, and political facts,” he said. “Political facts can be established by repeating over and over something that is demonstrably false, then if it comes to be accepted by enough people it becomes a political fact.” Witness the 52 percent of Republicans who currently believe Trump won the popular vote, and you get the idea.

I’m not sure “climate change isn’t happening” has reached that “political fact” level, though Smith and his ilk have done their damndest. Recent polls suggest most Americans do understand the issue, and more and more they believe the government should act aggressively to tackle it.

“Political facts can be established by repeating over and over something that is demonstrably false, then if it comes to be accepted by enough people it becomes a political fact.”

That those in charge of our government disagree so publicly and strongly now has scientists terrified. “This has a high profile,” Foster said, “because if there is any committee in Congress that should operate on the basis of scientific truth, it ought to be the Science, Space, and Technology committee—so when it goes off the rails, then people notice.”

The odds of the train jumping back on the rails over the next four years appear slim. Policies that came from the Obama White House, like the Clean Power Plan, are obviously on thin ice with a Trump administration, and without any sort of check on Smith and company it is hard to say just how pro-fossil fuel, anti-climate the committee could really get.

In the face of all that, what is a sane member of Congress to do? Elizabeth Esty, who represents Connecticut’s 5th district, was among several Committee members to note that in spite of the disagreements on climate, she has managed to work with GOP leadership on other scientific issues. Rep. Swalwell said he will try and focus on bits of common ground, like the jobs that come with an expanding green economy. Rep. Veasey said his best hope is that some strong conservative voices from outside of Congress might start to make themselves heard by the Party’s upper echelons on climate and related issues.

An ugly and dire scenario, then, but the Democrats all seem to carry at least a glimmer of hope. “It’s certainly frustrating and concerning but I’m an optimist,” Esty said. “I wouldn’t run for this job if I weren’t.”

Dave Levitan is a science journalist, and author of the book Not A Scientist: How politicians mistake, misrepresent, and utterly mangle science. Find him on Twitter and at his website.

Climate Change in Trump’s Age of Ignorance (New York Times)

Stanford, Calif. — THE good news got pretty much drowned out this month: Yes, 2016 is on track to become the hottest year on record, but thankfully also the third year in a row to see relatively flat growth in global greenhouse gas emissions. With global economic growth on the order of 3 percent a year, we may well have turned a corner toward a sustainable climate economy.

The bad news, of course, is that the world’s wealthiest nation, home to many of the scholars scrambling to reverse global warming, has elected a new president with little or no interest in the topic. Or an active disinterest. Donald J. Trump is surrounding himself with advisers who are likely to do little to challenge his notion of climate change as a Chinese hoax. People like to think of us as living in an age of information, but a better descriptor might be “the age of ignorance.”

How did we get into this predicament? Why are we about to inaugurate the most anti-science administration in American history?

As a graduate student at Harvard in the 1970s and early 1980s, I was astonished to find how little concern there was for the beliefs of ordinary Americans. I was in the history of science department, where all the talk was of Einstein and Darwin and Newton, with the occasional glance at the “reception” of such ideas in the larger literate populace.

I had grown up in a small town in Texas, and later in Kansas City, where the people I knew often talked about nature and God’s glory and corruption and the good life. At Harvard, though, I was puzzled that my professors seemed to have little interest in people outside the vanguard, the kinds of people I had come from, many of whom were fundamentalist Christians, people of solid faith but often in desperate conditions. Why was there so little interest in what they thought or believed? That’s Point 1.

INTERACTIVE MAP

What Trump’s Climate Legacy Could Look Like

How the president-elect deals with climate change could make him the man who shrunk America or the man who helped save the planet.

Point 2: Early in my career as a historian, I was further bothered by how little attention was given to science as an instrument of popular deception. We like to think of science as the opposite of ignorance, the light that washes away the darkness, but there’s much more to that story.

Here my Harvard years were more illuminating. I got into a crowd of appropriately radicalized students, and started to better understand the place of science in the arc of human history. I learned about how science has not always been the saving grace we like to imagine; science gives rise as easily to nuclear bombs and bioweapons as to penicillin and the iPad. I taught for several years in the biology department, where I learned that cigarette makers had been giving millions of dollars to Harvard and other elite institutions to curry favor.

I also started understanding how science could be used as an instrument of deception — and to create or perpetuate ignorance. That is important, because while scholars were ignoring what Karl Marx dismissively called “the idiocy of rural life” (Point 1), tobacco and soft drink and oil companies facing taxation and regulation were busily disseminating mythologies about their products, to keep potential regulators at bay (Point 2).

The denialist conspiracy of the cigarette industry was crucial in this context, since science was one of the instruments used by Big Tobacco to carry out its denial (and distraction) campaign. Cigarette makers had met at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Dec. 14, 1953, to plan a strategy to rebut the evidence that cigarettes were causing cancer and other maladies. The strategy was pure genius: The claim would be that it had not been “proved” that cigarettes really cause disease, so there was room for honest doubt. Cigarette makers promised to finance research to get to the truth, while privately acknowledging (in a notorious Brown & Williamson document from 1969) that “Doubt is our product.”

For decades thereafter, cigarette makers poured hundreds of millions of dollars into basic biomedical research, exploring things like genetic and viral or occupational causes of cancer — anything but tobacco. Research financed by the industry led to over 7,000 publications in peer-reviewed medical literature and 10 Nobel Prizes. Including consulting relationships, my research shows that at least 25 Nobel laureates have taken money from the cigarette industry over the past half-century. (Full disclosure: I’ve testified against that industry in dozens of tobacco trials.)

Now we know that many other industries have learned from Big Tobacco’s playbook. Physicians hired by the National Football League have questioned the evidence that concussions can cause brain disease, and soda sellers have financed research to deny that sugar causes obesity. And climate deniers have conducted a kind of scavenger hunt for oddities that appear to challenge the overwhelming consensus of climate scientists.

This latter fact might be little more than a historical quirk, were it not for the fact that we’ll soon have a president whose understanding of science is more like that of the people in the towns where I grew up than those scholars who taught me about Darwin and Einstein at Harvard.

We now live in a world where ignorance of a very dangerous sort is being deliberately manufactured, to protect certain kinds of unfettered corporate enterprise. The global climate catastrophe gets short shrift, largely because powerful fossil fuel producers still have enormous political clout, following decades-long campaigns to sow doubt about whether anthropogenic emissions are really causing planetary warming. Trust in science suffers, but also trust in government. And that is not an accident. Climate deniers are not so much anti-science as anti-regulation and anti-government.

Jeff Nesbit, in his recent book, “Poison Tea: How Big Oil and Big Tobacco Invented the Tea Party and Captured the G.O.P.,” documents how Big Tobacco joined with Big Oil in the early 1990s to create anti-tax front groups. These AstroTurf organizations waged a concerted effort to defend the unencumbered sale of cigarettes and petro-products. The breathtaking idea was to protect tobacco and oil from regulation and taxes by starting a movement that would combat all regulation and all taxes.

Part of the strategy, according to Mr. Nesbit, who worked for a group involved in the effort and witnessed firsthand the beginning of this devil’s dance, was to sow doubt by corrupting expertise, while simultaneously capturing the high ground of open-mindedness and even caution itself, with the deceptive mantra: “We need more research.” Much of the climate denial now embraced by people like Mr. Trump was first expressed in the disinformation campaigns of Big Oil — campaigns modeled closely on Big Tobacco’s strategies.

We sometimes hear that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, but a “repeat” is perhaps now the least of our worries. Judging purely from his transition team, Mr. Trump’s administration could be more hostile to modern science — and especially earth and environmental sciences — than any we have ever had. Whole agencies could go on the chopping block or face deliberate evisceration. President Obama’s Clean Power Plan may be in jeopardy, along with funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Grumblings can even be heard from Europe that if the Paris climate accord is abandoned, the United States may face carbon taxes on its export goods. Ignorance and its diabolic facilitator — the corruption of expertise — both have real-world costs that we ignore at our peril.

Pope Francis’s edict on climate change has fallen on closed ears, study finds (The Guardian)

Hailed as a significant call for action, the pope’s encyclical has not had the anticipated rallying effect on public opinion, researchers have found

Pope Francis environmental activists

Knowledge of the pope’s encyclical, called Laudato Si’, did not appear to be linked to higher levels of concern regarding climate change, the study found. Photograph: Bullit Marquez/AP

 

The pope’s call for action on climate change has fallen on closed ears, research suggests.

A study by researchers in the US has found that right-leaning Catholics who had heard of the pope’s message were less concerned about climate change and its effects on the poor than those who had not, and had a dimmer view of the pope’s credibility.

“The pope and his papal letter failed to rally any broad support on climate change among the US Catholics and non-Catholics,” said Nan Li, first author of the research from Texas Tech University.

“The conservative Catholics who are cross-pressured by the inconsistency between the viewpoints of their political allies and their religious authority would tend to devalue the pope’s credibility on this issue in order to resolve the cognitive dissonance that they experience,” she added.

Issued in June 2015, Pope Francis’s encyclical, called Laudato Si’, warned of an “unprecedented destruction of ecosystems” if climate change continues unchecked and cited the scientific consensus that human activity is behind global warming.

Research conducted on the eve of the announcement found that 68% of Americans and 71% of US Catholics believe in climate change, with Democrats more likely than Republicans to believe in the issue, put it down to human causes and rate it as a serious problem.

The pontiff’s comments were seen by many as a significant call for action in the battle against climate change, focusing on the moral need to address the impact of humans on the planet. “Pope Francis is personally committed to this [climate] issue like no other pope before him. The encyclical will have a major impact,” said Christiana Figueres, the UN’s climate chief, at the time.

But new research published in the journal Climatic Change suggests that the encyclical might not have had the anticipated rallying effect on public opinion.

In a nationally representative survey of 2,755 individuals across the US, including more than 700 Catholics, researchers quizzed individuals on their attitudes towards climate change, its effects on the poor and papal credibility on the issue, together with questions on their political views and demographics such as age, sex and ethnicity. The team found that 22.5% of respondents said they had either heard of the pope’s message or his plans for the letter.

Overall, the team found that members of the public who identified as politically liberal, whether Catholic or not, were more likely to be concerned about climate change and perceive climate change as disproportionately affecting the poor than those who identified as conservative.

But knowledge of the papal letter did not overall appear to be linked to higher levels of concern regarding climate change.

Instead, the researchers found that the effects of awareness of the letter were small, although awareness was linked to more polarised views. For both Catholics and non-Catholics, conservatives who were aware of the letter were less likely to be concerned about climate change and its risk to the poor, compared to those who had not. The opposite trend was seen among liberals.

But, the authors say, among both conservative Catholics and non-Catholics who had heard of the encyclical, the pontiff’s perceived credibility decreased as political leaning veered to the right.

“For people who are most conservative, the Catholics who are aware of the encyclical give the pope 0.5 less than Catholics who aren’t aware of the encyclical on a one to five scale,” said Li.

The researchers say it is not clear if the increased polarisation is caused by hearing about the encyclical or, for example, if more politically engaged individuals were simply more likely to be aware of the papal letter.

“In sum, while [the] pope’s environmental call may have increased some individuals’ concerns about climate change, it backfired with conservative Catholics and non-Catholics, who not only resisted the message but defended their pre-existing beliefs by devaluing the pope’s credibility on climate change,” the authors write.

The results chime with the reaction to the papal stance by conservative media and a number of prominent individuals, including former presidential candidate Jeb Bush who rebuffed the pope’s message, saying: “I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinal or my pope.”

Neil Thorns, director of advocacy at the Catholic aid agency Cafod, said: “Laudato Si’ was a wake-up call on how we’re treating our planet and its people which unsurprisingly – although disappointingly – some climate deniers and those with vested interests were not willing to hear.”

The Violence of Forgetting (New York Times)

Brad Evans: Throughout your work you have dealt with the dangers of ignorance and what you have called the violence of “organized forgetting.” Can you explain what you mean by this and why we need to be attentive to intellectual forms of violence?

Henry Giroux: Unfortunately, we live at a moment in which ignorance appears to be one of the defining features of American political and cultural life. Ignorance has become a form of weaponized refusal to acknowledge the violence of the past, and revels in a culture of media spectacles in which public concerns are translated into private obsessions, consumerism and fatuous entertainment. As James Baldwin rightly warned, “Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

The warning signs from history are all too clear. Failure to learn from the past has disastrous political consequences. Such ignorance is not simply about the absence of information. It has its own political and pedagogical categories whose formative cultures threaten both critical agency and democracy itself.

What I have called the violence of organized forgetting signals how contemporary politics are those in which emotion triumphs over reason, and spectacle over truth, thereby erasing history by producing an endless flow of fragmented and disingenuous knowledge. At a time in which figures like Donald Trump are able to gain a platform by promoting values of “greatness” that serve to cleanse the memory of social and political progress achieved in the name of equality and basic human decency, history and thought itself are under attack.

Once ignorance is weaponized, violence seems to be a tragic inevitability. The mass shooting in Orlando is yet another example of an emerging global political and cultural climate of violence fed by hate and mass hysteria. Such violence legitimates not only a kind of inflammatory rhetoric and ideological fundamentalism that views violence as the only solution to addressing social issues, it also provokes further irrational acts of violence against others. Spurrned on by a complete disrespect for those who affirm different ways of living, this massacre points to a growing climate of hate and bigotry that is unapologetic in its political nihilism.

It would be easy to dismiss such an act as another senseless example of radical Islamic terrorism. That is too easy. Another set of questions needs to be asked. What are the deeper political, educational, and social conditions that allow a climate of hate, racism, and bigotry to become the dominant discourse of a society or worldview? What role do politicians with their racist and aggressive discourses play in the emerging landscapes violence? How can we use education, among other resources, to prevent politics from being transformed into a pathology? And how might we counter these tragic and terrifying conditions without retreating into security or military mindsets?

Violence maims not only the body, but also the mind and the spirit.

B.E.: You insist that education is crucial to any viable critique of oppression and violence. Why?

H.G.: I begin with the assumption that education is fundamental to democracy. No democratic society can survive without a formative culture, which includes but is not limited to schools capable of producing citizens who are critical, self-reflective, knowledgeable and willing to make moral judgments and act in a socially inclusive and responsible way. This is contrary to forms of education that reduce learning to an instrumental logic that too often and too easily can be perverted to violent ends.

So we need to remember that education can be both a basis for critical thought and a site for repression, which destroys thinking and leads to violence. Michel Foucault wrote that knowledge and truth not only “belong to the register of order and peace,” but can also be found on the “side of violence, disorder, and war.” What matters is the type of education a person is encouraged to pursue.

It’s not just schools that are a site of this struggle. “Education” in this regard not only includes public and higher education, but also a range of cultural apparatuses and media that produce, distribute and legitimate specific forms of knowledge, ideas, values and social relations. Just think of the ways in which politics and violence now inform each other and dominate media culture. First-person shooter video games top the video-game market while Hollywood films ratchet up representations of extreme violence and reinforce a culture of fear, aggression and militarization. Similar spectacles now drive powerful media conglomerates like 21st Century Fox, which includes both news and entertainment subsidiaries.

As public values wither along with the public spheres that produce them, repressive modes of education gain popularity and it becomes easier to incarcerate people than to educate them, to model schools after prisons, to reduce the obligations of citizenship to mere consumption and to remove any notion of social responsibility from society’s moral registers and ethical commitments.

B.E.: Considering Hannah Arendt’s warning that the forces of domination and exploitation require “thoughtlessness” on behalf of the oppressors, how is the capacity to think freely and in an informed way key to providing a counter to violent practices?

H.G.: Young people can learn to challenge violence, like those in the antiwar movement of the early ’70s or today in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Education does more than create critically minded, socially responsible citizens. It enables young people and others to challenge authority by connecting individual troubles to wider systemic concerns. This notion of education is especially important given that racialized violence, violence against women and the ongoing assaults on public goods cannot be solved on an individual basis.

Violence maims not only the body but also the mind and spirit. As Pierre Bourdieu has argued, it lies “on the side of belief and persuasion.” If we are to counter violence by offering young people ways to think differently about their world and the choices before them, they must be empowered to recognize themselves in any analysis of violence, and in doing so to acknowledge that it speaks to their lives meaningfully.

There is no genuine democracy without an informed public. While there are no guarantees that a critical education will prompt individuals to contest various forms of oppression and violence, it is clear that in the absence of a formative democratic culture, critical thinking will increasingly be trumped by anti-intellectualism, and walls and war will become the only means to resolve global challenges.

Creating such a culture of education, however, will not be easy in a society that links the purpose of education with being competitive in a global economy.

B.E.: Mindful of this, there is now a common policy in place throughout the education system to create “safe spaces” so students feel comfortable in their environments. This is often done in the name of protecting those who may have their voices denied. But given your claim about the need to confront injustice, does this represent an ethically responsible approach to difficult subject matters?

Critical education should be viewed as the art of the possible rather than a space organized around timidity, caution and fear.

H.G.: There is a growing culture of conformity and quietism on university campuses, made evident in the current call for safe spaces and trigger warnings. This is not just conservative reactionism, but is often carried out by liberals who believe they are acting with the best intentions. Violence comes in many forms and can be particularly disturbing when confronted in an educational setting if handled dismissively or in ways that blame victims.

Yet troubling knowledge cannot be condemned on the basis of making students uncomfortable, especially if the desire for safety serves merely to limit access to difficult knowledge and the resources needed to analyze it. Critical education should be viewed as the art of the possible rather than a space organized around timidity, caution and fear.

Creating safe spaces runs counter to the notion that learning should be unsettling, that students should challenge common sense assumptions and be willing to confront disturbing realities despite discomfort. The political scientist Wendy Brown rightly argues that the “domain of free public speech is not one of emotional safety or reassurance,” and is “ not what the public sphere and political speech promise.” A university education should, Brown writes, “ call you to think, question, doubt” and “ incite you to question everything you assume, think you know or care about.”

This is particularly acute when dealing with pedagogies of violence and oppression. While there is a need to be ethically sensitive to the subject matter, our civic responsibility requires, at times, confronting truly intolerable conditions. The desire for emotionally safe spaces can be invoked to protect one’s sense of privilege — especially in the privileged sites of university education. This is further compounded by the frequent attempts by students to deny some speakers a platform because their views are controversial. While the intentions may be understandable, this is a dangerous road to go down.

Confronting the intolerable should be challenging and upsetting. Who could read the testimonies of Primo Levi and not feel intellectually and emotionally exhausted? Or Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, not to mention those of Malcolm X? It is the conditions that produce violence that should upset us ethically and prompt us to act responsibly, rather than to capitulate to a privatized emotional response that substitutes a therapeutic language for a political and worldly one.

There is more at work here than the infantilizing notion that students should be protected rather than challenged in the classroom; there is also the danger of creating a chilling effect on the part of faculty who want to address controversial topics such as war, poverty, spectacles of violence, racism, sexism and inequality. If American society wants to invest in its young people, it has an obligation to provide them with an education in which they are challenged, can learn to take risks, think outside the boundaries of established ideologies, and expand the far reaches of their creativity and critical judgment. This demands a pedagogy that is complicated, taxing and disruptive.

B.E.: You place the university at the center of a democratic and civil society. But considering that the university is not a politically neutral setting separate from power relations, you are concerned with what you term “gated intellectuals” who become seduced by the pursuit of power. Please explain this concept.

H.G.: Public universities across the globe are under attack not because they are failing, but because they are they are considered discretionary — unlike K-12 education for which funding is largely compulsory. The withdrawal of financial support has initiated a number of unsavory responses: Universities have felt compelled to turn towards corporate management models. They have effectively hobbled academic freedom by employing more precarious part-time instead of full-time faculty, and they increasingly treat students as consumers to be seduced by various campus gimmicks while burying the majority in debt.

My critique of what I have called “gated intellectuals” responds to these troubling trends by pointing to an increasingly isolated and privileged full-time faculty who believe that higher education still occupies the rarefied, otherworldly space of disinterested intellectualism of Cardinal Newman’s 19th century, and who defend their own indifference to social issues through appeals to professionalism or by condemning as politicized those academics who grapple with larger social issues. Some academics have gone so far as to suggest that criticizing the university is tantamount to destroying it. There is a type of intellectual violence at work here that ignores and often disparages the civic function of education while forgetting Hannah Arendt’s incisive admonition that “education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it.”

Supported by powerful conservative foundations and awash in grants from the defense and intelligence agencies, such gated intellectuals appear to have forgotten that in a democracy it is crucial to defend the university as a crucial democratic public sphere. This is not to suggest that they are silent. On the contrary, they provide the intellectual armory for war, the analytical supports for gun ownership, and lend legitimacy to a host of other policies that lead to everyday forms of structural violence and poverty. Not only have they succumbed to official power, they collude with it.

B.E.: I feel your recent work provides a somber updating of Arendt’s notion of “dark times,” hallmarked by political and intellectual catastrophe. How might we harness the power of education to reimagine the future in more inclusive and less violent terms?

H.G.: The current siege on higher education, whether through defunding education, eliminating tenure, tying research to military needs, or imposing business models of efficiency and accountability, poses a dire threat not only to faculty and students who carry the mantle of university self-governance, but also to democracy itself.

The solutions are complex and cannot be addressed in isolation from a range of other issues in the larger society such as the defunding of public goods, the growing gap between the rich and the poor, poverty and the reach of the prison-industrial complex into the lives of those marginalized by class and race.

We have to fight back against a campaign, as Gene R. Nichol puts it, “to end higher education’s democratizing influence on the nation.” To fight this, faculty, young people and others outside of higher education must collectively engage with larger social movements for the defense of public goods. We must address that as the welfare state is defunded and dismantled, the state turns away from enacting social provisions and becomes more concerned about security than social responsibility. Fear replaces compassion, and a survival-of-the-fittest ethic replaces any sense of shared concern for others.

Lost in the discourse of individual responsibility and self-help are issues like power, class and racism. Intellectuals need to create the public spaces in which identities, desires and values can be encouraged to act in ways conducive to the formation of citizens willing to fight for individual and social rights, along with those ideals that give genuine meaning to a representative democracy.

Any discussion of the fate of higher education must address how it is shaped by the current state of inequality in American society, and how it perpetuates it. Not only is such inequality evident in soaring tuition costs, inevitably resulting in the growing exclusion of working- and middle-class students from higher education, but also in the transformation of over two-thirds of faculty positions into a labor force of overworked and powerless adjunct faculty members. Faculty need to take back the university and reclaim modes of governance in which they have the power to teach and act with dignity, while denouncing and dismantling the increasing corporatization of the university and the seizing of power by administrators and their staff, who now outnumber faculty on most campuses.

In return, academics need to fight for the right of students to be given an education not dominated by corporate values. Higher education is a right, and not an entitlement. It should be free, as it is in many other countries, and as Robin Kelley points out, this should be true particularly for minority students. This is all the more crucial as young people have been left out of the discourse of democracy. Rather than invest in prisons and weapons of death, Americans need a society that invests in public and higher education.

There is more at stake here than making visible the vast inequities in educational and economic opportunities. Seeing education as a political form of intervention, offering a path toward racial and economic justice, is crucial in reimagining a new politics of hope. Universities should be subversive in a healthy society. They should push against the grain, and give voice to the voiceless the powerless and the whispers of truth that haunt the apostles of unchecked power and wealth. Pedagogy should be disruptive and unsettling, while pushing hard against established orthodoxies. Such demands are far from radical, and leave more to be done, but they point to a new beginning in the struggle over the role of higher education in the United States.

Regulators Warn 5 Top Banks They Are Still Too Big to Fail (New York Times)

‘LIVING WILLS’ AT A GLANCE

The Fed and the F.D.I.C. found that the plans of five banks were “not credible.”

  • Failed

  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Bank of America
  • Wells Fargo
  • Bank of New York Mellon
  • State Street
  • Mostly Satisfied

  • Citigroup
  • Split Decision

  • Goldman Sachs
  • Morgan Stanley

The five banks that received rejections have until Oct. 1 to fix their plans.

After those adjustments, if the Fed and the F.D.I.C. are still dissatisfied with the living wills, they may impose restrictions on the banks’ activities or require the banks to raise their capital levels, which in practice means using less borrowed money to finance their business.

And if, after two years, the regulators still find the plans deficient, they may require the banks to sell assets and businesses, with the aim of making them less complex and simpler to unwind in a bankruptcy.

Also on Wednesday, JPMorgan announced a decline in both profit and revenue for the first quarter. Other large banks will report quarterly results this week.

“Obviously we were disappointed,” Marianne Lake, chief financial officer of JPMorgan, said on Wednesday morning.

The results are a particular blow for JPMorgan because it often boasts about the strength of its operations and its ability to weather any crisis. Just last week, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive, bragged in his annual letterthat the bank “had enough loss-absorbing resources to bear all the losses,” under the Fed’s annual stress-test situations, of the 31 largest banks in the country.

But the Fed and F.D.I.C. said on Wednesday that JPMorgan appeared to be unprepared for a crisis in a number of areas. The regulators said, for instance, that the bank did not have adequate plans to move money from its operations overseas if something went wrong in the markets.

The letter also said that JPMorgan did not have a good plan to wind down its outstanding derivative contracts if other banks stopped trading with it.

Ms. Lake said “there’s going to be significant work to meet the expectations of regulators.” But she also expressed confidence that the bank could do so without significantly changing how it does business.

Investors appeared to agree that the verdicts from regulators did not endanger the banks’ current business models. Shares of all of the big banks rose on Wednesday.

Wells Fargo, which is generally considered the safest of the large banks, was the target of unexpected criticism from the Fed and F.D.I.C.

The agencies criticized Wells Fargo’s governance and legal structure, and faulted it for “material errors,” which, the regulators said, raised questions about whether the bank has a “robust process to ensure quality control and accuracy.”

In a statement, Wells Fargo said it was disappointed and added, “We understand the importance of these findings, and we will address them as we update our plan.”

The banking industry has complained that the process of submitting living wills is complex and hard to complete and it has suggested changes.

“A useful process reform might be to do living wills every two or three years, instead of annually,” said Tony Fratto, a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies, a public relations firm that works with the banks. “The time required for banks to produce them and regulators to react to them is clearly too tight.”

But Martin J. Gruenberg, the chairman of the F.D.I.C., said on Wednesday that regulators were “committed to carrying out the statutory mandate that systemically important financial institutions demonstrate a clear path to an orderly failure under bankruptcy at no cost to taxpayers.”

“Today’s action is a significant step toward achieving that goal,” he added.

Crow Tribe Elder, Historian Joe Medicine Crow Dead at 102 (New York Times)


Agora a versão portuguesa:

Morreu o último chefe índio dos Estados Unidos (RTP)

[Esse título é uma piada. Não é de estranhar que o jornalista português não saiba o mínimo necessário para falar sobre indígenas sem cometer o erro absurdo de considera-lo o “último” chefe índio, uma vez que os jornalistas brasileiros, que estão tão próximos das populações indígenas, tampouco sejam capazes de evitar tais gafes.-RT]

RTP 04 Abr, 2016, 15:38 / atualizado em 04 Abr, 2016, 15:50 | Cultura

Morreu o último chefe índio dos Estados Unidos

O presidente Obama, ao condecorar Joe Medicine Crow em 2009, debatendo-se com uma pena que lhe entrou pelo nariz. Foto:  Jim Young, Reuters

Joseph Medicine Crow, último chefe da tribo Crow, morreu com 102 anos de idade. Embora tenha nascido em 1913, era considerado uma memória viva do século XIX.

 Joseph Medicine Crow foi educado para ser um guerreiro, absorveu na sua tribo as narrativas de feitos heróicos, em especial a batalha nas margens do rio Little Bighorn, em 1876. Ouviu essas narrativas de guerreiros índios que ainda tinham participado na batalha. Recordavam-na como rara vitória que fora, dos índios sobre as tropas brancas, ocasionada pela aliança entre cheyennes sioux, contra a prática do general George Armstrong Custer, que habitualmente massacrava aldeias índias inteiras.

Custer, retratado sem contemplações no filme Little Big Man, protagonizado por Dustin Hoffman, foi morto na batalha, juntamente com mais de duas centenas de militares norte-americanos.

Na reserva de Lodge Grass, Montana, Joseph Medicine Crow foi treinado desde os seis anos de idade pelo seu avô, Cauda Amarela, para continuar as proezas guerreiras de chefes como Touro Sentado e Cavalo Louco, os dois líderes das tribos coligadas para a vitória de Little Bighorn. O avô fazia-o correr descalço sobre a neve, para criar resistências.

Segundo a nota publicada no New York Times por ocasião da sua morte, Medicine Crow seguiu, contudo, um outro caminho, numa época em que a resistência à ocupação branca já tinha terminado. Foi um dos primeiros índios estudarem e licenciou-se em antropologia em 1939. Mas depois veio a Segunda Guerra Mundial e voltou a emergir Crow, o guerreiro índio.

Entre os seus feitos de guerra conta-se o de roubar cavalos num acampamento inimigo e o de vencer em combate corpo-a-corpo um soldado alemão, a quem finalmente decidiu poupar a vida. Num livro publicado em 2006, Medicine Crow explicava que “fazer a guerra é a nossa arte suprema; mas para os índios da planície fazer a guerra não consiste em matar. É tudo uma questão de inteligência, de liderança e de honra”.

Quando voltou da guerra na frente europeia, Joseph Medicine Crow foi nomeado pelo conselho tribal como historiador da tribo. Diz-se que era dotado de uma memória prodigiosa e que conseguia, muitos anos depois, reproduzir grande parte das conversas que tivera com seis batedores índios que chegara a conhecer e que estiveram ao serviço do general Custer na batalha de Little Bighorn.

O empenhamento de Medicine Crow em cultivar as tradições da sua tribo como parte integrante de uma nação americana resultante do extermínio da população indígena valeu-lhe numerosos louvores e condecorações, mais recentemente por parte do presidente Barack Obama. Entre os elogios fúnebres que lhe fizeram os seus conterrâneos conta-se o do senador Steve Daines, nestas palavras algo ambíguas: “O espírito de Medicine Crow, a sua humildade e as realizações da sua vida, deixam uma marca duradoura na história de Montana”.

The Water Data Drought (N.Y.Times)

Then there is water.

Water may be the most important item in our lives, our economy and our landscape about which we know the least. We not only don’t tabulate our water use every hour or every day, we don’t do it every month, or even every year.

The official analysis of water use in the United States is done every five years. It takes a tiny team of people four years to collect, tabulate and release the data. In November 2014, the United States Geological Survey issued its most current comprehensive analysis of United States water use — for the year 2010.

The 2010 report runs 64 pages of small type, reporting water use in each state by quality and quantity, by source, and by whether it’s used on farms, in factories or in homes.

It doesn’t take four years to get five years of data. All we get every five years is one year of data.

The data system is ridiculously primitive. It was an embarrassment even two decades ago. The vast gaps — we start out missing 80 percent of the picture — mean that from one side of the continent to the other, we’re making decisions blindly.

In just the past 27 months, there have been a string of high-profile water crises — poisoned water in Flint, Mich.; polluted water in Toledo, Ohio, and Charleston, W. Va.; the continued drying of the Colorado River basin — that have undermined confidence in our ability to manage water.

In the time it took to compile the 2010 report, Texas endured a four-year drought. California settled into what has become a five-year drought. The most authoritative water-use data from across the West couldn’t be less helpful: It’s from the year before the droughts began.

In the last year of the Obama presidency, the administration has decided to grab hold of this country’s water problems, water policy and water innovation. Next Tuesday, the White House is hosting a Water Summit, where it promises to unveil new ideas to galvanize the sleepy world of water.

The question White House officials are asking is simple: What could the federal government do that wouldn’t cost much but that would change how we think about water?

The best and simplest answer: Fix water data.

More than any other single step, modernizing water data would unleash an era of water innovation unlike anything in a century.

We have a brilliant model for what water data could be: the Energy Information Administration, which has every imaginable data point about energy use — solar, wind, biodiesel, the state of the heating oil market during the winter we’re living through right now — all available, free, to anyone. It’s not just authoritative, it’s indispensable. Congress created the agency in the wake of the 1970s energy crisis, when it became clear we didn’t have the information about energy use necessary to make good public policy.

That’s exactly the state of water — we’ve got crises percolating all over, but lack the data necessary to make smart policy decisions.

Congress and President Obama should pass updated legislation creating inside the United States Geological Survey a vigorous water data agency with the explicit charge to gather and quickly release water data of every kind — what utilities provide, what fracking companies and strawberry growers use, what comes from rivers and reservoirs, the state of aquifers.

Good information does three things.

First, it creates the demand for more good information. Once you know what you can know, you want to know more.

Second, good data changes behavior. The real-time miles-per-gallon gauges in our cars are a great example. Who doesn’t want to edge the M.P.G. number a little higher? Any company, community or family that starts measuring how much water it uses immediately sees ways to use less.

Finally, data ignites innovation. Who imagined that when most everyone started carrying a smartphone, we’d have instant, nationwide traffic data? The phones make the traffic data possible, and they also deliver it to us.

The truth is, we don’t have any idea what detailed water use data for the United States will reveal. But we can be certain it will create an era of water transformation. If we had monthly data on three big water users — power plants, farmers and water utilities — we’d instantly see which communities use water well, and which ones don’t.

We’d see whether tomato farmers in California or Florida do a better job. We’d have the information to make smart decisions about conservation, about innovation and about investing in new kinds of water systems.

Water’s biggest problem, in this country and around the world, is its invisibility. You don’t tackle problems that are out of sight. We need a new relationship with water, and that has to start with understanding it.

The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter (Politico Magazine)

And it’s not gender, age, income, race or religion.

1/17/2016

 

If I asked you what most defines Donald Trump supporters, what would you say? They’re white? They’re poor? They’re uneducated?

You’d be wrong.

In fact, I’ve found a single statistically significant variable predicts whether a voter supports Trump—and it’s not race, income or education levels: It’s authoritarianism.

That’s right, Trump’s electoral strength—and his staying power—have been buoyed, above all, by Americans with authoritarian inclinations. And because of the prevalence of authoritarians in the American electorate, among Democrats as well as Republicans, it’s very possible that Trump’s fan base will continue to grow.

My finding is the result of a national poll I conducted in the last five days of December under the auspices of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, sampling 1,800 registered voters across the country and the political spectrum. Running a standard statistical analysis, I found that education, income, gender, age, ideology and religiosity had no significant bearing on a Republican voter’s preferred candidate. Only two of the variables I looked at were statistically significant: authoritarianism, followed by fear of terrorism, though the former was far more significant than the latter.

Authoritarianism is not a new, untested concept in the American electorate. Since the rise of Nazi Germany, it has been one of the most widely studied ideas in social science. While its causes are still debated, the political behavior of authoritarians is not. Authoritarians obey. They rally to and follow strong leaders. And they respond aggressively to outsiders, especially when they feel threatened. From pledging to “make America great again” by building a wall on the border to promising to close mosques and ban Muslims from visiting the United States, Trump is playing directly to authoritarian inclinations.

Not all authoritarians are Republicans by any means; in national surveys since 1992, many authoritarians have also self-identified as independents and Democrats. And in the 2008 Democratic primary, the political scientist Marc Hetherington found that authoritarianism mattered more than income, ideology, gender, age and education in predicting whether voters preferred Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. But Hetherington has also found, based on 14 years of polling, that authoritarians have steadily moved from the Democratic to the Republican Party over time. He hypothesizes that the trend began decades ago, as Democrats embraced civil rights, gay rights, employment protections and other political positions valuing freedom and equality. In my poll results, authoritarianism was not a statistically significant factor in the Democratic primary race, at least not so far, but it does appear to be playing an important role on the Republican side. Indeed, 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters I surveyed score in the top quarter of the authoritarian scale—more than twice as many as Democratic voters.

Political pollsters have missed this key component of Trump’s support because they simply don’t include questions about authoritarianism in their polls. In addition to the typical battery of demographic, horse race, thermometer-scale and policy questions, my poll asked a set of four simple survey questions that political scientists have employed since 1992 to measure inclination toward authoritarianism. These questions pertain to child-rearing: whether it is more important for the voter to have a child who is respectful or independent; obedient or self-reliant; well-behaved or considerate; and well-mannered or curious. Respondents who pick the first option in each of these questions are strongly authoritarian.

Based on these questions, Trump was the only candidate—Republican or Democrat—whose support among authoritarians was statistically significant.

So what does this mean for the election? It doesn’t just help us understand what motivates Trump’s backers—it suggests that his support isn’t capped. In a statistical analysis of the polling results, I found that Trump has already captured 43 percent of Republican primary voters who are strong authoritarians, and 37 percent of Republican authoritarians overall. A majority of Republican authoritarians in my poll also strongly supported Trump’s proposals to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, prohibit Muslims from entering the United States, shutter mosques and establish a nationwide database that track Muslims.

And in a general election, Trump’s strongman rhetoric will surely appeal to some of the 39 percent of independents in my poll who identify as authoritarians and the 17 percent of self-identified Democrats who are strong authoritarians.

What’s more, the number of Americans worried about the threat of terrorism is growing. In 2011, Hetherington published research finding that non-authoritarians respond to the perception of threat by behaving more like authoritarians. More fear and more threats—of the kind we’ve seen recently in the San Bernardino and Paris terrorist attacks—mean more voters are susceptible to Trump’s message about protecting Americans. In my survey, 52 percent of those voters expressing the most fear that another terrorist attack will occur in the United States in the next 12 months were non-authoritarians—ripe targets for Trump’s message.

Take activated authoritarians from across the partisan spectrum and the growing cadre of threatened non-authoritarians, then add them to the base of Republican general election voters, and the potential electoral path to a Trump presidency becomes clearer.

So, those who say a Trump presidency “can’t happen here” should check their conventional wisdom at the door. The candidate has confounded conventional expectations this primary season because those expectations are based on an oversimplified caricature of the electorate in general and his supporters in particular. Conditions are ripe for an authoritarian leader to emerge. Trump is seizing the opportunity. And the institutions—from the Republican Party to the press—that are supposed to guard against what James Madison called “the infection of violent passions” among the people have either been cowed by Trump’s bluster or are asleep on the job.

It is time for those who would appeal to our better angels to take his insurgency seriously and stop dismissing his supporters as a small band of the dispossessed. Trump support is firmly rooted in American authoritarianism and, once awakened, it is a force to be reckoned with. That means it’s also time for political pollsters to take authoritarianism seriously and begin measuring it in their polls.

Matthew MacWilliams is founder of MacWilliams Sanders, a political communications firms, and a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he is writing his dissertation about authoritarianism.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/donald-trump-2016-authoritarian-213533#ixzz3xj06TM2n

What Became of America’s Water-Cure Towns? (City Lab/The Atlantic)

The 19th-century craze for “taking the waters” produced hundreds of spa towns across America. Many fell on hard times. Now some are looking to revive.

HENRY GRABAR

 

Nov 16, 2015

Image Library of Congress

Relaxing at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, c. 1888 (Library of Congress)

It’s easy to imagine the burgeoning business of “wellness” as a product of our time, sold on narcissism and exhaustion from punishing work schedules.

In fact, the wellness craze has deep roots. Beginning in the middle of the 19th century, the leisure class grew infatuated with a particular type of healthy getaway: the water cure. By the 1850s, a constellation of spa villages had emerged across 20 states. By 1930, the country had over 2,000 hot- and cold-spring resorts.

Neither the practice nor the result of the treatment—which evolved out of a newfound enthusiasm for bathing—was strictly defined. Hydropathy encompassed everything from a spell in the tub to highly regimented procedures supervised by water doctors with stopwatches. According to its boosters, who were some of the most distinguished medical men of the day, water could cure everything from hiccups to cancer (and even hydrophobia!).Renowned water-lovers included John Roebling, the engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge, who liked to wrap himself in a damp, cold sheet, and most famously, President Franklin Roosevelt, whose interest in taking the waters long predated his visits to Warm Springs, Georgia.

Most of these “procedures” could have been performed at public baths, or at suburban facilities like the Harrogate spa, four miles out of Philadelphia. But part of the lure was always to get out of the city. For one thing, hydropathy was cast as a cure for the peculiar ailments of the well-off urbanite—a remedy for bourgeois decadence, to heal, as Carl Smith writes in City Water, City Life, the ill effects of the “overly refined life characteristic of cities.” (The equivalent of a modern farm vacation, maybe.)

“Taking the Waters at Saratoga”—a Harper’s cover in 1890 (Yates Collection of Saratogiana, Skidmore College)

For another thing, as Thomas Chambers suggests in Drinking the Waters, “taking the waters” was simply an excuse to have fun. And so a vast network of scenic spa towns emerged along the railroads. Built around grand bathhouses, they offered a much more social experience than bathing at home.

Some of these places, like Saratoga Springs, New York, or Palm Springs, California, blossomed into small cities, with diverse leisure cultures and other economic engines. But most fell into a state of prolonged decline in the 20th century. The trains stopped running; the visitors stopped arriving; the grand hotels closed, collapsed, or burned.

Not surprisingly, the perceived medical value of hydropathy dropped after the discovery of penicillin and the polio vaccine. But there were other factors at work, too. Bathing, like other old-time leisure pursuits, simply wasn’t cool anymore. Americans had taken up other, more exhilarating physical activities. And the automobile and the airplane opened up exciting new vacation possibilities.

But some spa towns are turning around, finding renewed interest in their quaint charms—and their water.

Hot Springs c. 1888 (Library of Congress)

The Buckstaff today (Zack Frank / Shutterstock.com)

Hot Springs, Arkansas, is one of those places. A town of 35,000 about halfway between Memphis and Dallas, Hot Springs was once a major destination for high rollers from Chicago and St. Louis.

In 1946, visitors took 649,000 baths on Bathhouse Row, the parade of elegant spas abutting the main drag. By 1979, that number had fallen to just 79,000. Retail occupancy downtown in the 1980s was below 10 percent. All but one of the bathhouses closed between 1962 and 1985.

That surviving establishment, the Buckstaff, continues to offer an old-time water-cure to visitors. But it’s no longer the only game in town: In 2007, investors rehabilitated the neighboring Quapaw into a luxe modern spa. Three years ago, the Superior spa reopened as a brewery, producing the world’s only thermal beer.

The number of visitors to Hot Springs is steadily rising, and the retail occupancy rate is now over 90 percent. Historic architecture is no small part of its charm. “It’s totally a nostalgic story,” says Cole McCaskill, the downtown development director for the Hot Springs Metro Partnership. But, he adds, the city has done a good job diversifying its water-tourism offerings: A stay in Hot Springs now might include a trip to a nearby water park or aquarium.

Earlier visitors would have supplemented their health vacation with a little gambling, or a visit to an ostrich or alligator farm. This was typical, Chambers explains. “People wanted to find ways to have leisure, but culture told them they couldn’t do anything wasteful or not productive. You could say you were going to the springs for your health, but you were really going there to try and find a spouse or gamble.”

The Vanderbilts moved on years ago from Sharon Springs, New York, one of a handful of smaller, quieter resort towns west of Saratoga Springs. Now small-town appeal has drawn investors to revitalize the bathing industry there. A Korean investment group is restoring a long-dormant spa complex for Korean tourists, which has coincided with a general sense of civic renewal.

“We’re thrilled they’re doing something,” says Ron Ketelson, a California transplant who purchased the nearby Roseboro Hotel last year. “The bathhouse is being saved.”

For Ketelson, New York’s spa-town past represents something more personal than moth-balled grandeur. Not long after he purchased the Roseboro, Ketelson found an old postcard revealing that—unbeknownst to him—his own grandfather, suffering from breathing problems, had come to take the waters in Sharon Springs.