MEDIA LITERACY: Don't vote without it

Posted in News Last updated on: Monday, 11 July 2016

MEDIA LITERACY: Don't vote without it

The months before an election turn us into four-year-olds trying to get through a funhouse: slanted floors, lying mirrors, screams. It's harvest time for the public relations industry, working overtime to override our rational minds and get us to vote for the interests who've hired them. The means: ancient, underhanded, and effective.

If the picture painted in Eyes Wide Open of the fossil fuel lobby's PR campaign seems exaggerated, check out the quotes from the book followed by those in bold from prominent Washington consultants Richard Berman and Jack Hubbard touting their techniques to oil and gas executives, their talk recorded by a disgruntled exec and printed in a story in the New York Times.

NOW I GET IT: The power of the big picture

Posted in News Last updated on: Saturday, 18 June 2016

NOW I GET IT: The power of the big picture
Seeing behind things--the coal mine behind your light switch, the downed forest behind your burger--is central to solving the environmental crunch and a major focus of Eyes Wide Open.  But looking down from high above might be even more important.  Looking behind gives us added information, but looking down tells us what it means.  It does this by zooming out so we can see much more space and time, putting our facts in a larger context.  The big picture is a bolt of lightning, starkly illuminating issues and giving us sudden clarity.

STOP, LOOK, THINK: Eyes wide open on meat

Posted in News Last updated on: Sunday, 11 September 2016

STOP, LOOK, THINK: Eyes wide open on meat


You probably eat meat once or more a day without giving it a thought.  Socrates' response: "The unexamined life isn't worth living."  What about the unexamined diet?

Instead of mindlessly swallowing, many are looking closely at the meat on their plates.  High meat-eating levels, like high energy use, are woven into Western culture, a point of pride.  That diet is now spreading worldwide.  What could be the problem with something so widely eaten?  The issues fall into two main categories.

BROWN IS THE NEW GREEN: Lessons from the California drought

Posted in News Last updated on: Monday, 06 February 2017

I live on the California coast, where a company will dye your brown lawn green for $100.  Where weather reports contain lines like "accumulations of up to two-tenths of an inch"--words that actually excite us.  But what happens if we zoom out from the particulars and look at the wider principles playing out? 



California received average or better precipitation in 2015-16, especially in the north where most of the rainfall is stored.  This was welcome but not enough to erase the effects of the drought.  The latest predictions for 2016-17 suggest a return to low rainfall, but predictions of a major El Nino-fueled deluge last winter turned out to be wrong, so stay tuned.


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