Article: The Defining Moment for Climate Change

The Defining Moment for Climate Change is an excellent article. It does not beat around the bush, or try to make the actions we need to take sound easier than they are. It simply states the cold, hard facts. If we want civilization to continue as we know it, we need to decrease the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to a maximum of 350 parts per million now. This is not going to be easy, but there is still hope. We can still make choices that will help do this, instead of work against it. To help make people aware of the importance of this, the author of the article, Bill McKibben, has started a grassroots movement at


8 Responses to Article: The Defining Moment for Climate Change

  1. Lyndsay says:

    Um…I’m afraid to ask but what number are we at now?Well, I hope America will start to do more next January. We need to decrease our reliance on cars. Isn’t that one of the biggest things we could do? I heard quitting eating meat is almost as good. So…I don’t know what else to do really but I will pass on the link.

  2. Sarah says:

    I think it said in the article that we are currently at 385 ppm. I sure hope the U.S. starts doing more next January too. I agree that decreasing our reliance on cars is critical. I’m also starting to learn more about the relationship between food and sustainability – I’m currently reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and it has finally sunk in (people had told me this before but I hadn’t really registered what it meant) that we use an incredible amount of fossil fuel to produce our food – in the form of fertilizer.

  3. Lyndsay says:

    Ah okay, if we could actually take more action right now, then 385 is not as bad as I feared. I wish I could read the book I read about food. Now I’m mixing up what I read in Fast Food Nation and another book. In fertilizer? How so?

  4. Sarah says:

    The process of making synthetic fertilizer (ammonium nitrate, which is used for one of the biggest crops in the world, corn) requires a large amount of energy, which is provided by natural gas. The way I understand it, by creating this synthetic nitrogen, we are able to grow corn continuously and produce much greater quantities of it than would be supported if we relied on the nitrogen in the atmosphere – doing that requires rotating crops that add nitrogen to the soil (legumes) with crops that use nitrogen (corn). By using the synthetic method we are essentially converting gas into food.I’m only 50 pages into the book and it’s really good so far (and I’ve learned a lot, including everything I just wrote); I recommend it!

  5. Lyndsay says:

    Isn’t lots of corn used to feed animals? If so, we could just stop eating meat and eat soy instead which we could rotate with the corn…I know corn is also used to make corn starch, corn syrup, etc right? I think I heard corn syrup is a really bad kind of sugar so if we eat healthier, less corn. If only it were so simple…but sounds like an interesting informative book.

  6. pamijane says:

    Nice one. I am a Bill McKibben fan also. For an unusually and refreshingly encouraging read about the state of our world and enviroment (I’m serious!) check out his book “Hope, Human and Wild”.

  7. Sarah says:

    I don’t know if I could say I’m a fan yet, since this is the first thing I’ve read by Bill McKibben 🙂 But I will definitely check out that book. I could use something encouraging – I’m getting rather depressed by The Omnivore’s Dilemma (and just about ready to vow off all industrialized and processed foods…). I’m learning so much, though, and I’m almost done with the industrial part of the book, so maybe it will get less depressing 🙂

  8. fjd says:

    Minor detail: Natural gas is used to make fertilizer because the hydrogens are stripped from the methane molecule to combine with nitrogen in the air. See this wikipedia article. Often, natural gas markets in the third world are tied up with fertilizer production subsidies; India is a good example of that.

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