January 2019 Reflection

Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? Last January I decided to spend an hour every Friday, writing in a blog I created just for that purpose. I think I made 4 entries!!! Every Friday, for an hour? What was I thinking? So, I was hesitant to take on another New Year’s resolution, or at least I was clear that I would scale down my expectation. So, what is my resolution? I will keep myself better informed about environmental concerns. You might find it strange that I would make such a resolution, as if I’m not already informed, since I’m writing in a newsletter for an environmental organization. Well, I am informed, but not as informed as I very often know I need to be. Hence, the resolution. But how do I make this happen? What sources can I trust? I have a few ideas!

First, get up early on Saturday morning, 6AM to be exact, and tune your radio to your local Public Radio station. Chances are you’ll hear a program called Living on Earth.  It is fantastic!  They take deep dives, with experts, into all sorts of challenges facing the planet, individual species, including the human species, and sharing news of the latest development in green technology. It is a fantastic news program, with host Steve Curwood guiding us through the “thicket” of news. If 6AM on a Saturday morning is not your cup of tea, then click on the link above and find this week’s program on the homepage, and all past programs archived.  The program provides a satisfying introduction to a variety of environment-related developments.

Independent of Living on Earth, but always a guest on the show, is Peter Dykstra.  Peter is the editor of Environmental Health News and Daily Climate. These sites push science into the public policy debate. It is non-partisan, and its journalists are experts in their respective fields. I find their work enormously helpful. For example, there is an article on their homepage about the “original sin” of air pollution regulation. What is it? That the regulations keep the air polluted.  Read the article here.  Another example, again from their homepage, examines the growing human population and the challenge of feeding so many people, including the negative impact on the planet’s systems. Read it here. The best thing about these sites is that you can sign up for a daily email that puts current journalism in front of you. Sign up for it on the homepage!

For those interested in a religious perspective on these questions, I’ve found the Catholic Eco-Blog to be a great source. You can find it here, and sign up for a newsletter that comes out once a week with articles about the environmental challenges we face. There are articles on spirituality, a theology of creation, the relationship between science and religion, and guides on evaluating public policy options.

I am sure there are lots of sources of news out there, including local groups working on issues like lead in the pipes, air pollution, toxins in the soil, and securing green space in rapidly developing communities. The national news organizations do not spend enough time on the environment. Climate disruption is THE primary threat to our economy, our security, our health and our lives. While there is certainly much to attend to in the wackiness of Washington, DC, we cannot lose sight of the most important challenge of this century: climate disruption. Each of us need to keep ourselves up to speed on what is happening around the globe, not only the increasing threats to human and non-human habitats but also the local solutions that are creating more resilient communities.

So, my new year’s resolution is to get the Daily Climate News email, every day, with environmental news. I will sign up for the Eco-Catholic email for reflections on spirituality, science and theology. I will also network with my friends on social media, to find reliable news sources on environmental issues.

I think I can do this. The emails pop up in my inbox. I can click on them in the moment to read a few articles, or I can save the email and pore through it when I have more time, while taking the train home from work, or waiting in my doctor’s office.

I challenge you to join me. Let’s get more informed. Let’s follow the legislators in Congress who want a “Green New Deal.” Let’s find out what’s going on in our communities. It is time to act. I don’t want to have to tell my grandchildren and my greatgrandchildren that I didn’t do my part to be informed and active in response to climate disruption.

Best wishes on that new year’s resolution….I’ll let you know how mine goes!


Mark Doorley, Ph.D.

President Emeritus, Board of Trustees

Center for Environmental Transformation