Public Invited to Submit Essays, Photos for Online Global Warming Book

Posted by John Goetz

I ran across the following announcement this morning:

September 4, 2008

at The Union of Concerned Scientists website:

Penguin Classics Joins the Union of Concerned Scientists in Call for a New Generation of Environmental Writers

Penguin Classics has partnered with the Union of Concerned Scientists to carry the legacy of classic environmental writers Emerson and Thoreau into the 21st century. The literary publisher and science group are inviting aspiring writers and photographers to submit their personal stories and images about global warming for a new online book, Thoreau’s Legacy: American Stories about Global Warming, to be published by the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2009.

“From Henry David Thoreau to Rachel Carson, writers have played a profound role in drawing attention to our natural environment and inspiring people to protect it,” said Elda Rotor, executive editor of Penguin Classics, publisher of some of the greatest environmental works ever written. “We believe the readers of our classic literature are concerned about global warming and will be interested in sharing their voices, photos and inspiration for this project.”

A light bulb (CFL, of course) went off in my head, and I could not resist spreading the message.

To participate, contributors must write a 200- to 500-word first-person account of global warming that relates to their life or the world around them: a special place that they want to protect; people, animals or activities they love that are threatened by a warmer climate; or the steps they are taking to stem the tide of global warming. Or, they can send a photo related to these topics. The best submissions will be included in the online book and in a limited-edition hardcover version. The submission period closes November 15, 2008.

“The writings of a new generation can inspire Americans to take on the challenge of global warming and save our natural—and national—heritage,” said Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “What better way to get the word out about this book project than through a global publisher of classic literature?”

Booksellers across the country are displaying easels and free bookmarks publicizing the project. The project will be supported by a major print and online publicity campaign, as well as a 25-city radio satellite tour, and national and trade advertising.

Contributors can submit their essays or photographs at

We’ve seen many eloquent commenters on this website speak with passion about global warming. Now is their chance to reach a broader audience and let people know who the next David Thoreau, John Muir, Rachel Carson, Stephen King, or P.J. O’Rourke is. Since not all submissions will be accepted, why not cross-post them here so that we have a complete, grass-roots record of how global warming is really affecting people.

Submission guidelines can be found here. Please take particular note of the following:

Essays that center on locations must be consistent with observed shifts or future projections of global warming. For example, climate is the average of many weather events tallied over several decades; global warming cannot be blamed for individual weather events.

What an opportunity for the jeez’s and Pamela Gray’s of this forum to really shine! I am not suggesting anyone spam this effort by the UCSUSA. Be thoughtful, forthright, and witty. And for heaven’s sake use a spell-checker. Perhaps, after the submission deadline closes, we can vote for our favorite essay and image and post here for all to see. So sharpen your keyboards and get writing!

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September 5, 2008 5:59 am

Human induced warming, eh? Why, the gallery of asphalt, air conditioning, barbeque pits, jet exhaust, burning barrels, car radiators, etc. sound like just the ticket.

September 5, 2008 6:15 am

This is a great idea, perhaps I should sponsor a book of stories where either nothing has changed or things are better because of climate change.
With weather out the window it eliminates about a large portion of the population since climate change is 30-60 years in the making, and the person would have to remain in one location for that period. So only 40+ year old writers who never left an area or animal habitat region qualify.
I wonder who will sift out the stories for species lost due to other factors like food chain events and invasive species released by environmentalists to prove we do not need pesticides.
I am not mocking the effort well maybe a little), it will be what it is but we all can agree many events and changes have been blamed on Global Warming that are completely unrelated to rising temperatures.
I think it will be greatly received and submitted to and is a great experiment in social science and the individual perception of Cliamte Change on a short time scale. ( I assume the Union is Doing Science as well and not spending the members money on a publicity campaign )

September 5, 2008 6:26 am

I noticed the submission period ends on nov 15th .Why not run it through feb or march of 2009 and see if the people still feel the same about this natural cycle ,I mean global warming,.I mean to stop telling what kind of hardship people are having before winter really gets started it seems like you don’t get the full story .In other words the truth.To me this has been the mildest summer I can remember in quite some time here in western noth carolina.2 weeks with mid 90’s for the entire summer .I’m still trying to figure out why the weather channel always has temps warmer in our area than accuweather and noaa at the same time of day .

September 5, 2008 6:27 am

I know two images that would tug at peoples hearts. First is the expanded dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico because of the increased nutrient run-off due to bio-fuel production. A nice graphic of the area and a few dead fish on the shoreling should do the trick. The second would be a group of people starving because food price increases don’t allow them to purchase enough to sustain themselves. if that’s not dramatic enough, we could show food riots over the increased cost of staples in poor countries instead.

September 5, 2008 6:34 am

I seen a book once!
Oh drat… Looks like USA only…

April E. Coggins
September 5, 2008 6:51 am

I could submit copies of my heating bill attached to a picture of me shivering in a sweater.
Did I mention that we had over an inch of snow on June 10th? I had lots to say about that, though it wasn’t very eloquent.

Leon Brozyna
September 5, 2008 7:12 am

Union of Concerned Scientists? Them again?
How about an antidote to their fantasy, such as the title essay from Ayn Rand’s Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution? That title essay follows to the logical outcome the reality of zealous environmentalism – it is very depressing. Sorry, but after reading this essay, I can never see anything witty in the environmental religion.
Or how about catching a flight to Africa for a photojournalism essay with pictures of the real people suffering the effects of living in harmony with nature, not the few well off city folk, nor the fantasy images on PBS, but the real images of children dying from malaria or malnourishment. How many thousand pages will that take to get the message across?

September 5, 2008 7:31 am

I have done Direct to Print publishing and would be happy to publish a collection of rebuttal essays.

Bobby Lane
September 5, 2008 7:38 am

Not that this will surprise anyone, but I thought I would post this, side-by-side as it were, for comparison.
Here is UCSUSA’s take on CO2 and global warming:
“Global warming is one of the most serious challenges facing us today. To protect the health and economic well-being of current and future generations, we must reduce our emissions of heat-trapping gases by using the technology, know-how, and practical solutions already at our disposal.”
And then, of course, yesterday we had Professor Duffy say this:
“Carbon dioxide CO2 is a trace. It is less than 400ppm (parts per million) or 0.04% of all the atmosphere (on a dry basis). Surprisingly, less than a fifth of that is man-made CO2 (0.008% of the total), and that is only since the beginning of the industrial era and the rapid increase in world population.”
and what is more…
“Climate and local weather is forever changing. Sure we must minimise pollution of our air and water systems with obnoxious chemical and particulates, and not treat them as ‘sewers’. But even doubling or trebling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will.”
Oh the possibilities.

September 5, 2008 7:51 am

From Wikipedia:
“According to the George C. Marshall Institute, the UCS was the fourth-largest recipient of foundation grants for climate studies in the period 2000-2002, a fourth of its $24M grant income being for that purpose.
According to Charity Navigator, an independent, non-profit organization that evaluates American charities, the UCS maintained $20,575,731 in assets, $5,514,946 in liabilities, $15,060,785 in net assets, and $14,112,057 in working capital, as well as $10,058,784 in program expenses, $813,335 in administrative expenses, and $1,703,907 in fundraising expenses in fiscal year 2006.”
Also if I remember the membership stats correctly, the non-scientists out number the scientists.

September 5, 2008 7:53 am

It would be funny to have the UCS publish stories you can find on . Credulous as they are, it ‘s even more probable than not.

“(Frosty Cove, Alaska) Few places on Earth have suffered the ravages of global warming more than Alaska. While recent news reports have highlighted accounts of the native Inuits’ snowmobiles falling through the ice, threatening their traditional way of life, there are isolated parts of Alaska have been completely transformed by global warming.
Possibly the most frightening example of this climate catastrophe that continues to unfold before the eyes of humanity is the case of Frosty Cove, Alaska. Once dominated by a pristine ice field, with a slowly advancing glacier dumping its frigid cargo into the sea, the Cove’s original beauty has been forever lost.
Totally devoid of the ice and magnificent rock outcropping that once adorned the lanscape, Frosty Cove has become the poster child for the ravaging effects of global warming. In the accompanying pair of photographs, taken only twenty years apart, the environmental degradation is immediately obvious. Types of vegetation totally foreign to Alaska have invaded the region, upsetting the delicate ecological balance that once existed. Clouds of mosquitos, once so abundant in the cool moist climate of Alaska, have all but disappeared.
“We have been astounded by the environmental degradation that has occurred at Frosty Cove”, said Dr. John Striker, director of Alaska’s Cold Preservation Institute. “This level of transformation in only twenty years is sobering — clearly, global warming has gotten out of hand in Alaska, and now other fragile ecosystems in polar regions are threatened as well”.

Read the source for photos
Reply by JG: Now that’s what I mean by wit!

Mike Bryant
September 5, 2008 7:55 am

Somehow, I don’t think they will publish
“Baby Ice- The Journey, The Perils, The Triumph”

September 5, 2008 8:28 am

Eye well bee shore two ewes ah spiel Czech arr.

Richard deSousa
September 5, 2008 8:42 am

Terry46: I think the Union of Confused Scientists deliberately ended the contest on Nov 15 because they possibly feared a nasty winter will crush their plan to promote global warming as a danger to us.

September 5, 2008 8:55 am

Here’s my essay:
by Jim Watson
I drove my SUV around on the sun trampling out new sunspots.
The End

Patrick Henry
September 5, 2008 9:29 am

It is September 5 and miserably cold here in Colorado. Wyoming is getting snow today and more forecast for Monday. How is that for a global warming story?

September 5, 2008 9:42 am

I thought it was Union of Concerned Socialists. No?
I’m just going to plagiarize writings from the 20’s and 30’s and send that in.

Jeff Alberts
September 5, 2008 9:43 am

re: Spellchecker
Better yet, have several people proofread your submission. I volunteer…

September 5, 2008 9:50 am

For skeptics to compete with the news media that is in lock step with the AGW crowd we need a national climate publication that not only refutes this scam but identifies who is funding all the scientific drivel from government through corporations. Most of the population is basically brain washed on this subject and are not scientifically oriented just like the Congress and other politicians with ulterior motives.

John Nicklin
September 5, 2008 9:56 am

It will be a lasting testement to the stupidity of our times. I wonder how the contributors will try to dismiss their stories once the AGW bubble bursts for good. “Hey man, I was, like, high ya know, like on CO2 man. I didn’t really write that crap man, like ya know.”

Jim Arndt
September 5, 2008 9:59 am

Gotta love those tradition native snow mobile rides. Could be the next tourist attraction.

M White
September 5, 2008 10:05 am

“End in Sight”
It would seem that Lewis Pughs attempt to Kayak to the North Pole is over.
“Everyone is beginning to realise that the end of the expedition is in sight and today, with Robbie and I not able to paddle any further north, we turn the boat around and start heading for Longyearbyen.”
Had to mention it.

Steven Goddard
September 5, 2008 10:13 am

Interesting update from Lewis Pugh. He reports that he has been asked to speak to Congress about “climate change and security.”
A few days ago he was claiming that the ice he was trapped in was thinner than normal, yet from the NSIDC map it is clear that ice extent around Svalbard is actually greater than normal this year. Most years he would have made it closer to the pole.
The whole thing reminds me of a Monty Python skit. Absurd behaviour by him, the press, and now the Congress.

M. Jeff
September 5, 2008 10:14 am

Perhaps someone could submit a compilation of precautionary principles that would offer survival hints to help cope with global warming.
For example, if an air-conditioner were to malfunction in Alaska, shouldn’t 911 be called for hyperthermia treatment prior to calling the AC repairman.

Retired Engineer
September 5, 2008 10:30 am

In the tradition of Rachel Carson? Does that mean we can invent facts to support our cause?
Cold in Colorado? Nonsense. Just because it’s 55 degrees doesn’t mean it’s cold. If it were 95, that would be global warming. Everything else is normal. Colorado weather can do almost anything it wants (and has done so IME).
I’m sure, after a few beers, I won’t need no specllchekr.

September 5, 2008 11:08 am

Why even bother to enter? James Howard Knustler has already been picked as the winning UberPessimist™.

David Gladstone
September 5, 2008 11:10 am

I just heard Obama stumble through a question about global warming. I could hardly believe his ignorance on this subject is so dismally complete, yet I’m sure it is as I heard it. This in itself is a depressing dead end. I cannot vote for him as it is and McCain isn’t any better! The media has totally failed to inform Americans about this issue and time is running out. The debates, moderated by uninformed journalists will be a joke, as far as they concern energy and climate.

September 5, 2008 11:11 am

Given that (at least as I understand it) global warming primarily affect the poles, and the decreasing the temperature difference between the poles and the equator reduces the power avalible to generate storms.
Write an essay about how, because of global warming, you miss sitting out watching to massive thunder / hail storms of your youth. The violent majesty of fields of crops smashed flat. The awe inspiring power of vast floods sweeping bridges away. Etc.

G Alston
September 5, 2008 11:28 am
September 5, 2008 12:00 pm

Reply to David Gladstone,
I think there may be a ray of hope. Gov. Palin does not buy into the
AGW theory and is a proponent of developing more fossile energy. What would be interesting is that Obama’s campaign is going to have prominent female politcians such as Gov. Sebelius of Kansas counter her with bread and butter issues affecting family finances. I can image a interesting debate on power generation between them. How much more will power cost in Kansas as a result of Gov. Sebelius’s blocking of any more coal fired power plants?

M White
September 5, 2008 12:19 pm

More on lewis Pughs paddle in the Arctic. He was accompanied by a TV news team.
A trip to the North Pole wich I guess would have taken a couple of weeks seems to be over after only 3 days of paddling. I’m sure this expedition will be portrayed as a great success in the world of global warming.

September 5, 2008 1:42 pm

Interesting quote from that article: “His journey will show how cracks in the ice have made it possible to travel through what used to be permafrost.”
I don’t think they know what permafrost is: “permafrost or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water (0 °C or 32 °F) for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of the ground material. Most permafrost is located in high latitudes (i.e. land in close proximity to the North and South poles), but alpine permafrost may exist at high altitudes in much lower latitudes.” (Wiki)
Ah, the well-informed press…

September 5, 2008 1:54 pm

UAH is out:
As you can see, melting Arctic sea ice driven by nasty little apes is causing the entire world’s climate to burn burn burn. Your crimes against humanity and nature will affect your children, and your children’s children. If I were you, I would sell that beachfront property of yours. Can’t find a buyer? Don’t worry, I will buy it from you, but only for half-price. 😉
REPLY: That is still July data, the August temp anomaly here:
has not yet been updated – Anthony

September 5, 2008 3:04 pm

Huh? Is the link broken on your end? It looks finished to me and ICECAP mentioned it as -0.01C. I don’t see how Lords Spencer and Christy could screw up and release unfinished data.
REPLY: Odd, they still have not updated the main dataset. That is what I go by, not by the summary page.

old conconstrution worker
September 5, 2008 6:11 pm

Good. I like science fiction books.

September 5, 2008 7:20 pm

The writing contest is inspired by Thoreau and Carson, 2 emblems of AGW and the green philosophy generally; Thoreau was a hypocrite and one of the first examples of the cognitive dissonance which afflicts AGW; Richard Zacks sums up this armchair utopian’s reverence to an idealised nature well;
“While living the simple life in the woods, Thoreau walked into nearby Concord, Mass., (which nature-boy compared to a gopher colony) almost very day. And his mom, who lived less than two miles away, delivered goodie baskets filled with meals, pies and doughnuts every Saturday. The more one reads in Thoreau’s unpolished journal of his stay in the woods, the more his sojorn resembles suburban boys going to their tree-house in the backyard and pretending they’re camping in the heart of the jungle.”
The cognitive dissonance comes from the fact that AGW supporters seem to think the privileges and civilization which comes from keeping nature at bay will continue if the barriers are broken and benevolent mother-nature is reintroduced into our empty lives. The hypocrisy comes from the ability to similtaneously worship misanthropes like Carson while pretending that millions of deaths have not occurred because of the reduction in mosquito, and other pest and parasites, eradication methods because of Carson’s advocacy.
Books invoking these 2 are likely to be horror stories; how appropriate that Stephen King is on the board.

Roger Carr
September 5, 2008 9:21 pm

“Traditional” is how long in actual years?
Demesure (07:53:11) quotes from While recent news reports have highlighted accounts of the native Inuits’ snowmobiles falling through the ice, threatening their traditional way of life…
Snowmobiles… traditional…

Roger Carr
September 5, 2008 9:36 pm

Thank you, cohenite (19:20:40). A clean and crisp debunking.

September 6, 2008 12:18 am

Re Pugh the Adventurer and his 30 ton supporting boat, compare to this kayaker who has had balls (sort of):
“On March 2004, French-Finnish adventurer Dominick Arduin died making the attempt to solo trek the North Pole in a kayak.”

September 6, 2008 12:21 am

Roger Carr,
re traditional snowmobiles, the folks at know what they talk about.

September 6, 2008 2:40 am

[…] (Story picked up from Watts Up With That?)  […]

September 6, 2008 3:48 pm

I find it hard to believe that Thoreau would have smiled on this effort to cash in commercially on an environmental problem, perceived or real.
I disagree with the post that calls him a hypocrite, however. I suspect that many who celebrate his writing and views simply have not read him. He’s quite clear and straightforward about what he’s doing and why in his cabin by the lake. The idea that he was a hermit in the wilds is something people have said about him, not what he said of himself.

September 6, 2008 9:19 pm

lichanos; did not Thoreau write;
“I never found the companion that was so companionable as soltitude.”
I think Thoreau was a hypocrite. He played at the pastoral; at least Whitman found what he thought was a true democracy in nature; even if it was a vision with the Blakeian red of claw romanticised to hazy insouciance. But as well as hypocrisy there is irony; Whitman distinguished between the man of science who distilled nature and the direct reverent experience of nature;
“Gentlemen! [men of science] to you the first
honours always.
Your facts are useful and real, and yet they are
not my dwelling;
(I but enter by them into an area of my dwell-
Isn’t a twisted version of this what we are seeing today in the reverence for nature and the incipient loathing for humanity’s efforts to overcome nature? AGW is predicated on an ideology that nature knows best and that interference with that superior wisdom brings [divine] retribution. The irony is, that ‘science’ is being seconded to support that stance which would have no traction without the ‘scientific’ support. Thus, to support a pure, hypocritical view of nature, which is unreal and only sustainable from the vantage of an unnatural society, we see the science and technology which has enabled that ‘unnatural’ society to develop being suborned to support the vision pure of nature.

September 7, 2008 6:07 am

I no scholar on HDThoreau, but my impression of Walden was that he liked being alone, and he thought it had great personal value. The fact that he didn’t want to be a hermit and cut himself off from everyone doesn’t make him a hypocrite. I like to be alone a lot too, but I need crowds as well, in small doses.
I agree with your point about science and AGW however. It seems to me that much of the enviro movement advances moral/ethical objectives as though they were scientific ones because that’s the only way they feel they can get traction. Personally, I’d rather they were up-front, and advanced their ethical view, but we live in a [pseudo]scientific age.

Asif shah
September 9, 2008 11:50 pm


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