Burning Planet


For coverage of global warming, I have to admit, I’m a bit biased towards the May/June issue of Mother Jones. Nevertheless, Elizabeth Kolbert has written a tremendous three-part series in the New Yorker (one, two, three) about the subject that’s very much worth reading in full. Especially valuable is her visit to various parts of the world to chart the effects of climate change on actual people; she describes her visit to Alaska in a Q&A with Amy Goodman:

Alaska is being very dramatically affected by climate change; the state is warming up just about as fast as any place on earth. This is producing a lot of problems in Native communities; several Native villages may have to be moved owing to erosion that is being caused, or at least hastened, by climate change. It’s also affecting daily life in places like Fairbanks, parts of which are built on permafrost. As the permafrost degrades, people’s houses are starting to split apart. The roads need to be repaired more often; sometimes they just cave in.

Ironically, it’s also affecting the oil industry. The kind of heavy equipment used in oil exploration is allowed out on the tundra only when the ground is frozen to a depth of twelve inches. Since 1970 the number of days that meet that condition has been reduced by half. Early on, computer models developed by scientists working on climate change predicted that global warming would have a disproportionate effect in the Arctic.

That last paragraph reminds me of a report released shortly after the election last November noting that the downsides to the oil industry from global warming will likely far, far outweigh the upsides of from increased sea access in the Arctic. Land facilities will collapse. Ground transport will be harder. Oil spills will likely increase. Maybe something the oil industry should think seriously about before, y’know, shelling out millions to “debunk” the science of climate change. And yes, scare quotes are there for a reason.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate