Ecology, Loss, and Triage

Rainforest-burning-NASA-2014Amazonia burning. NASA Earth Observatory 2014

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that remains.”

–Anne Frank

On Sunday, 30 April 2017, the New York Times reported that global marine fisheries are being pushed to the brink. This and countless other imminent losses prompt me to once again point out that management of the global biosphere is necessary if we are to have any hope of controlling climate change and feeding ourselves. Human impacts on ecosystems are pushing the living planet into a new regime characterized by disrupted ecological relationships and accelerating extinctions on local, regional, and global scales. Ecological disruption causes ongoing positive feedbacks from widely-distributed natural sources of emissions, thus further disrupting the climate system. Globally, we are approaching a state of unmanageability on many fronts. Continue reading “Ecology, Loss, and Triage”

Divestment from fossil fuels: An ethical imperative for higher education

group-monument1

On Nov. 5, 2012, the Unity College Board of Trustees voted unanimously to divest our $15 million endowment from the top 200 fossil fuel companies, making Unity the world’s first institution of higher learning to explicitly target – using Carbon Tracker, a financial think tank – companies that produce these carbon-based fuels. Since our action, hundreds of campuses have started divestment movements. An increasing number, including Pitzer, Stanford and Syracuse, have voted to divest billions from fossil fuels. Continue reading “Divestment from fossil fuels: An ethical imperative for higher education”

Generational impacts of climate change: What will it mean for you?

Increasingly dire projections of the impact of climate change within this century are often met with morbid acceptance or dismissed as alarmist.   Dr. Joe Romm argues that first stage of “climate grief” is acceptance, which is the reverse of the Kübler-Ross model of grief that we personally experience when, say, confronted with a conclusive diagnosis of a terminal disease (cf., physicist Saul Griffith).  While Joe notes that what we are accepting is the science, it is my experience that non-scientists often move immediately from acceptance of the science to hopelessness.  After all, the scientific reality is pretty stark.  Here I will argue this is wrong-headed at any stage of the progression of anthropogenic climate change, and I hope to provide a context in which to understand what the science is telling us about what the twenty-something generation will experience. Continue reading “Generational impacts of climate change: What will it mean for you?”

Unity College Board of Trustees votes to divest from fossil fuels

I am proud to say that earlier today the Unity College Board of Trustees voted to divest the College endowment from fossil fuels.  The following editorial is my statement to the public about this important step. Continue reading “Unity College Board of Trustees votes to divest from fossil fuels”

A time for courage and action

Stephen Mulkey

From Stephen Mulkey, PhD, president, Unity College

It seems to be unusual for a college president to step into what appears to be a political event such as the Tar Sands Action that will take place on 6 November.   Indeed, some of my colleagues at other institutions think that I must be quite mad to join the group that will circle the White House.  As president of Unity College, a liberal arts institution with an environmental mission and a history of activism, it is not only appropriate, but also quite necessary for me to make my voice heard. Continue reading “A time for courage and action”