A letter to Dan.

But first Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Cynthia.


(Image courtesy of UK’s Met Office blog post: Top ten romantic weather phenomena.)

My dear Dan,

In a way this stunningly beautiful photograph is a reflection of our long relationship.  Over the 33 years that we have been friends you and I have enjoyed many calm moments and tried to make sense of this crazy world.  Yes, we have often disagreed about many things but never fallen out; not even come close to it.  No better illustrated than me wanting you as my Best Man when Jean and I were married November 20th, 2010.

Payson, Arizona, November 20th 2010
Bridesmaid Dianne and Best Man Dan with the happy couple!

Your email to me of the 4th February was a difficult one to embrace; the Controversy Continues one.  The last thing I wanted to do was to react impulsively because I knew you would disregard such a thoughtless response.  After all, we have known each other’s views on the matter of climate change for a very long time.

Thank goodness I did sit on my hands. It allowed a more reflective part of my aged brain to compose a blog post on Learning from Dogs.  The post that came out on the 12th under the title of Doggedly seeking the truth.

That post then led to yesterday’s post Truth never follows a straight line.  Two essays that gave me much joy.  Thank you.

But the plain fact of the matter is that I profoundly disagree with the idea, as expressed in your email heading, that there is any controversy over the question of global warming resulting from man’s behaviours.  I know from our years of friendship that you are open to all sorts of ideas. Meaning you wouldn’t be closed-minded to the biggest issue facing Homo sapiens and all the species on this planet, the one of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

So let me offer you some links that make it very clear as to the reality of what is happening to this planet.

Start with this one Why Climate Deniers Have No Scientific Credibility – In One Pie Chart. Or this one IPCC Draft Report Leaked, Shows Global Warming is NOT Due to the Sun.

Then there’s this one A Brief Note on the Latest Release of Draft IPCC Documents and this one Global Extinction within one Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heat wave and Surface Firestorm.  I could go on and on.

Perhaps the reason that so many intelligent people ‘avoid’ the truth of what we are doing to this planet was voiced in a recent comment by Prof. Guy McPherson on Learning from Dogs, “Perhaps Upton Sinclair had it right, years ago: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

Even though you and I are well past salary days it doesn’t alter the chilling realisation that comes from embracing the truth of climate change and global warming: The undermining of just about everything that we have embraced over our years.  No wonder it’s so much easier to stay within familiar comfort zones!  To remain hypocrites as Jean and I do!

Let me close with the words uttered by mother Dellarobia to son Preston in Barbara Kingsolver’s book Flight Behavior: “It won’t ever go back to how it was, Preston.

In my heart I know that to be the truth.

Jean and I send you and Cynthia our fondest love,


7 thoughts on “A letter to Dan.

  1. Indeed, that is the main problem, to be concerned about the environment and not polluting or abusing it can affect a lot of vested interests. That’s something which capitalism can’t resolve!


  2. Nice one, Paul. I hope this letter gets the “open-minded” response for which I know you earnestly hope.

    I think I have said more than enough over the last few days but, I should like to reiterate one point in response to the link to the pie chart on DeSmog Blog. Many such literature surveys have been done in the past and all have been dismissed by contrarians as an ‘argument from authority’ (i.e. because they believe they are right and the majority are wrong). What is harder for them to argue against is the fact that the majority of people who write peer-reviewed literature that dismisses this consensus have been proven to be linked to Conservative Think Tanks (CTTs). These CTTs have a self-declared libertarian focus, which marginalises the importance of protecting the environment that sustains all life.

    Sadly, this is a fallacy that has its roots in the (17th Century) Age of Enlightenment. However, we humans are not superior to nature; we are part of it. Therefore, if we harm nature we harm ourselves. This is a truth that is independent of all religious faith and none: To attain such enlightenment does not require individuals to indulge in transcendental meditation. It is just a cold hard scientific fact that all things are connected…


  3. The world is such a complicated place. Everything interacts and we are not even close to understanding most of those processes. At the surface level, maybe we get it, but deeper–it seems that the mechanisms are sometimes as elusive as those we are trying to tease out at the biggest (cosmological) and smallest (the stuff done at the LHC) levels. Here are three things I know:
    1–our blue planet is a complex web of interacting systems. The field of Earth Systems Science is nowhere near where it should be at this point–partly due to science practitioners’ often stubborn refusal to broaden their horizons and to resist the urge to just stay within their ‘piece’ rather than trying to find the methodologies that will integrate the various knowledge fields. After all, Earth Systems Science needs to draw upon physics, chem, biology traditional geology, mathematics, environmental science AND economics–let’s not forget that.
    2–time scales for our Earth are not to be measured in linear human scales. There’s always a danger from both sides of the ‘controversy’ when people fail to pay attention to this.
    3–Science itself is a complex process, often moving up and down blind alleys, sometimes totally changing course (I’m referring to Kuhn’s concept of revolutionary science). It is, though, always a human process and subject to all of the things that make us human, both good and bad.

    Funny–leading up to this Valentines day all that was on my mind was the loss, 31 years ago on the 15th, of the Ocean Ranger; itself (and its entire crew) a victim of mankind’s search for wealth and the accompanying failure to act on a growing body of evidence…


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