Speaking Truth to Nature

Bob Simon, the wildlife correspondent for 60 Minutes, offers an unvarnished perspective on naturalists and wildlife biologists, and why he loves animals. Earlier this week, he was interviewed by Ann Silvio, an editor with 60 Minutes Overtime. Check out the short video segment. Meanwhile, here’s the good stuff.

Silvio: Is there something about doing animal stories that is more pleasurable than doing a people story?

Simon: An animal is never duplicitous. An animal will never get involved in gratuitous cruelty. And it’s very refreshing to go see them after you’ve spent a lot of time interviewing politicians.

Talk about nailing both human and animal nature in one punch! In another exchange towards the end of the short segment he makes another interesting observation:

Silvio: You’ve met a lot of people who devote their lives to a particular species, but also a particular small community of animals.

Simon: That’s right. These are wonderful people. I’ve never met one of these people who have devoted their lives to animals that I didn’t like. And they’ve all got quite a bit in common.

Silvio: Like what?

Simon: They don’t like people very much.

Category: nature, wildlife

Sarah Silverman Flashback

I’m a little late to this parody. And, besides, I didn’t have a blog at the time. Those unfamiliar with Sarah Silverman but interested in learning more about her edgy brand of comedy should check out this 2005 New Yorker profile.


Category: climate change, comedy

The Revolution Will Not be Deferred

It’s not exactly Dewey Defeats Truman, but you can file this headline in the Never Mind department.

Category: Egypt, Journalism

I Guess Monckton Wasn’t Available

Future J-School students yearning for a career at Fox News take note. Here’s how reporting 101 is done at the Fair & Balanced network.

Category: Journalism

Romm Doubles Down on Egypt/Climate Link

I have a few questions for Joe Romm.

1) When you discuss the 2007-2008 economic meltdown, do you focus on what triggered it (such as the housing bubble burst or underlying root causes (such as deregulation)?

2) When you discuss BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, do you focus on what triggered it (such as the blowout preventer) or systemic root causes (such as industry-wide practices)?

3) When you discuss the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, do you focus on what sparked it (such as the suicide of a Tunisian man), a contributing factor (such as rising food prices), or underlying causes (such as social inequity, injustice, and government repression)?

Romm need not bother stopping by with his answers. I found them at his blog.

1) He goes with mega-root causes, as this Ponzi scheme post demonstrates.

2) He identifies larger, industry-wide attitudes and practices as the main reasons for the BP spill.

(So far, we’re two for two, in that Romm explores underlying causes to major events.)

3) He focuses like a laser beam on a single contributing factor (here and here)-high food prices, apparently so he can make a larger, causal connection to global warming.

In his latest post, Romm concedes that

major historical events have multiple causes.  Some are underlying causes, and some are precipitating or triggering causes.

Then he makes an interesting statement:

Those who believe they understand the underlying causes are only revealing their ignorance if they shout down or dismiss those who are trying to explore some of the precipitating or triggering causes.

That’s precious coming from a guy who has done more than anyone to shout down and dismiss others who have explored climate solutions that have differed from his own. In any case, I’m not opposed to rising food prices being part of current Tunisia/Egypt conversation. I’ve just suggested it be put into some proper perspective, which is captured in these opening lines from an op-ed in today’s WaPo:

The demands for change sweeping across the Arab world are the manifestation of unrest that has festered for years. The status quo is unsustainable.

Hmm, “status quo” and “unsustainable”- two terms often invoked in the climate change debate. Maybe there’s a connection to be made somewhere there for those in the climate community who want to expand their frame of reference beyond rising food prices and global warming.

Category: climate change, Egypt, Joe Romm