Happy New Year

By Keith Kloor | December 30, 2011 7:44 am

Thanks for being a reader, and thanks to many of you for making this site a lively exchange of interesting perspectives, particularly on climate change related issues. Early next week, I’ll have a post up elaborating on a few new wrinkles to the blog.

Meanwhile, I’d like to hear from you on something. What particular story and/or topic would you like to see given more attention in 2012? (Bear in mind there are editors and reporters who read this blog.) But be as specific as possible. No doubt, a number of you will throw climate change in the mix, which is fine. Just spell out what you would like to see covered differently or in more detail. But I’m especially keen to hear of any science/environmental stories that you believe are underreported in the media.

Lastly, Ed Yong has compiled his top 12 list of “longreads” for 2011. I recommend you check it out. He has great taste and judgment.

Best wishes to you and your families for the New Year.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: science journalism
MORE ABOUT: science journalism
  • jeffn

    Happy New Year to you as well.
    I’d like to see more reporting on the energy quest- what really does work and doesn’t. Lots of landmines there as there is a lot of misrepresentation on all sides of all solutions. Quite frankly economic growth in India and China will necessitate new forms of energy with or without AGW pressure. there is tremendous need already for clean, reliable, plentiful, inexpensive energy.

  • Vinny Burgoo

    Happy new year and thanks very much for the blog!
    I’d like to see more on the power wielded by environmental NGOs. They have a huge influence on environmental journalism, which often allows them to determine which stories are newsworthy and presents their views as fact, and they have privileged access to national governments and to international bodies like the UN. Something about how these plucky outsiders became such eminences grises (or vertes) would also be nice.
     

  • hunter

    Happy New Year to you, as well. The lovely Mrs. hunter 7 myself are heading to the S. Texas coast to watch windmills chopping up whooping cranes and offshore oil and gas platforms quitely deliver what we actually need.
    But where ever we go, I will wish everyone here a prosperous  and healthy 2012. May 2012 be our best year yet!
    And thank to you, Keith, for providing a great site and free wheeling forum. You are an excellent host and much appreciated. Sincere best wishes for a great new year for you and yours.
     

  • Anteros

    Thank you Keith.
    I’m a relative newcomer to you blog but really appreciate the variety of views and topics.
    I agree with comments about the energy topic – it can even be approached in a ‘non-climate’ way if it makes it less contentious. Also a fascinating thread at WUWT was ‘sustainability’ although it was quite superficial. I’d like it approached with more thought and less knee-jerk reactions.
    Happy new year to all – keep enjoying the interglacial !

  • Menth

    Ideally in the next year I’d like to see some environmental journalism stories leading up to the Qatar conference detailing how it’s our last chance to save the climate.

    Seriously though, I enjoy all the topics currently covered here in particular ones that highlight how the prism of a person’s particular belief system affects their assesment of facts and risk.

  • Menth

    And Happy New Year to all!

  • Menth

    Also, in the context of recent conversations held here in regards to “doom”, this article may be of interest to some readers here: http://www.walrusmagazine.com/printerFriendly.php?ref=2012.01-essay-apocalypse-soon

  • harrywr2

    I’m with #1 jeffn.
    The energy quest without the hype of industry shills pedaling magical solutions is an interesting subject.
    The ‘how would we get to an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions’ is a much more stimulating conversation then ‘do we need an 80% reduction’.

  • Matt B

    Feliz Ano Nuevo, Keith!

    You’re running a sweet blog, and I say keep following your instinct. I do like when you look at topics other than the climate foofaraw. There are a thousand science topics that are newsworthy, but only a handful make it into the news, and that is typically because they are pushed there by some PR machine. Any science pushed by PR needs scrutiny. You are doing a good job identifying hyped areas that need scrutiny (nano, GMO, organic, etc); keep it going.

    Also, I know Tom Fuller can be a pain in the tuckus, but I do miss him…..if he behaves can he come back?

  • Keith Kloor

    Tom has stopped commenting on his own. I haven’t banned him or even put him in moderation (not lately, anyhow).  

  • David Palmer

    I’m with jeffn and harrywr2.
    Put the AGW issue to one side, ignore all the toing and froing over it and focus more on the energy issue.
    “The “˜how would we get to an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions’ is a much more stimulating conversation then “˜do we need an 80% reduction’.”
    Spot on, though I would add something extra, viz
    “˜how would we get to an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions without causing economic decline with knock on effects for employment and standard of living, not just in the West but in the developing world as well.’
    That is the big question because as matters stand, imo, renewables simply aren’t up to it, certainly so in the short term and probably long term – but this remains in question.

  • Barry Woods

    Happy New Year everyone. may it be above all a peaceful one

  • kdk33

    I miss Tom too.  Where did he go.
    I want to see a story on the business of climate change.  The business of climate research and the business of alternative energy.  How much is spent in the US; how much globally.  How much is at stake – who wins who losses if EPA starts regulating CO2, and how much.  

    Let’s count and follow the money.

  • huxley

    Happy New Year, all!

    I’m fascinated by the current debate over intelligent life in the galaxy or even the universe. Like many people, my thinking has changed on the subject away from thousands or millions of planets bearing intelligent life to the possibility that maybe we are alone.

    Here’s a review of a recent book: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204552304577116570107579152.html?mod=rss_opinion_main

  • steveg

    Related to the point by David Palmer is a point that has puzzled me.
    If you are really a true believer in the AGW story, then it seems to me that the only hope of solving the problem without massive dislocations is through nuclear power.  There do not seem to be any other realistic options.  How can you be an AGW true believer and anti-nuke at the same time?

  • EdG

    “What particular story and/or topic would you like to see given more attention in 2012?”

    Well Keith, I know you asked for specifics but I’ll need to give that some more thought. So many possibilities.

    In the meantime, my first thought on this reflects much of my thinking at this time of year. I KNOW that I should wish for more salads in 2012 because that would be ‘good’ for me but I also KNOW that I’ll still eat the ‘bad’ stuff because it tastes so much better.

    So in the spirit of finding rational discussion from the ‘middle,’ I think that calmer, deeper, and more penetrating discussions of complexities would be a ‘good’ thing yet also know that the wild and crazy partisan arguments that often emerge from more provocative or outright ‘red herring’ topics are more fun, and probably generate more interest and hits to your blog. Not to mention the ‘soap opera’ aspects which are irresistible. 

    So. Candy or lentils? What to do?

  • EdG

    Almost forgot to add… Happy New Year to one and all, including those who recognize that I am a brainwashed irrational person with incorrect thoughts ;-)

  • http://www.veteransfreedomfarm.org steven mosher

    Say his name 3 times and he will appear.
    Tom Tom Tom
    ahh… nope that didnt work
    Tom is  doing the 8-5 thing.

    ###
    Keith thanks for the link to the artcles. I want a pet octopus. it tastes way better than dog or horse

     

  • Tom Fuller

    When summoned I can still appear

    If only to inaugurate the year

     

  • BBD

    Happy New Year… one and all.

    I thought I’d posted this last night, but either my brain failed or the comment vanished into the ether.

  • Keith Kloor

    @19
    Kinda like the great gazoo

  • Tom Fuller

    Well, as long as I’m here…

    One idea you might explore is a round robin email discussion with some of the people who have dropped by, such as Yulsman, Gilligan, etc. You pick a topic, let everyone write on it and then whip it into a post for your regulars to comment on.

    Happy New Year 

  • Fred

    Economic science may be a stretch, but how about attention to the conditions conducive to economic growth. Keith has already noted that middle class status seems to be a prerequisite for concern over environmental issues. Given our current prolonged spell of sub-par economic growth, figuring out how a society facilitates wealth creation could be useful.

  • Alexander Harvey

    I can give an idea for a range of subjects that could be covered. Summed up in the following metaphor:

    Joining Our World: Dot by Dot

    The dots are people, plants, animals, urban gardens, urban wild areas, copses, private nature areas, public conservation areas, national parks, and transfrontier parks/conservation areas.

    What does an urban garden that is managed with a little benign neglect for the benefit of a population of once common rural wildflowers, and projects like KAZA TFCA (Kavango-Zambesi Transfronteir Conservation Area) have in common? Public participation in an incremental process that provide links and builds bridges.

    Incrementalism seems to be something that we are quite good at, as opposed to counter-catastrophism which seems so hard and intractable.

    The term conservation is often a bit of a misnomer for these incremenatist efforts where the environmental development is towards something that doesn’t currently exist and has never existed in the past.

    KAZA TFCS is a process towards a five nation 400,000 km^2 (in size between Montana and California) designated area that is not intended to be a National Park but will contain National Parkland. The bounded area currently contains ~250,000 elephants and ~2,000,000 people so it relies on people and megafuana sharing territory. There are other smaller efforts between a number of countries.

    This notion of populated mixed use areas is gaining favour, slowly but reasonably consistently. Allowing the spread of fauna from highly protected areas into areas with lower conservation status. Eventually joining all these dots to link the highly protected areas to each other.

    Another effort, throughly community based, is the incremental reconstitution of the long defunct Greater Etosha, westward from Etosha National Park to the Skeleton National Park in Namibia. The original area was around ~80,000 km^2, the current Etosha >~20,000 km^2, the additional land is all in privately or community controlled. The inter-NP bridge is now in place and the mega-fauna including, elephants, and lions can travers it with some but not unlimited protection. This can vary from tollerance, some controlled hunting, to quite a high degree of protection.

    In both of the above efforts the human population is largley a mix of small scale and quite poor agricultural and pastoral farmers and some townsfolk. The Greater Etosha effort is being driven by the local populace and by the mega-fauna naturally dispersing or migrating, all under the watch of the national institutions and other more traditional agencies.

    Has this really got anything to do with an urban garden? Yes, it is commonly participatory, progresses through relatively small scale local action that can amount to a new type of shared envirinment that links together all the parcels to produce connections, passageways, stepping-stones, towards building and sharing capacity.

    We can choose to build new and exciting (sometimes very exciting) environments, that make no claim to being wild or natural. More importantly we can do it, and are doing it, in some cases whether anyone else likes it or not. If it is the will of the individual or the community then things can be achieved. At its heart, it may stem from a sentiment, something shared by poor and rich, the nation state and the individual, towards bending the environment towards something more satisfying.

    I know that many people think that allowing free passage to seriously big and dangerous animals is just crazy, but not everyone thinks that way. Some people want to adapt themsleves and the fauna towards sharing an environment. Wolves, bears, and cougars may be sacry and dangerous, but so are elephants, rhino, and lions. There are people who are prepared to give the African mega-fauna a chance to coexist where a realistic opportunity exists.

    If we wish to have an environment fifty years hence that is more to our liking than what we have now; sharing whatever we can, builds a set of steps which we can take; forming processes for joining the dots between now and that future.

    Incrementalism isn’t easily publicised; each individual effort is about as arresting as watching paint dry. But it is ongoing, both in and between many countries, and at all scales from the garden to the international arena.

    Happy New Year

    Alex

  • James Evans

    Happy New Year! Or it will be if I can avoid those Mayans.

    This may be a bit niche – but I’d love to see more discussion of climate modeling.

  • hunter

    As for the energy discussion: The only way it will be resolved rationally is to drop the CO2 obsession.

  • Pascvaks

    To some of the many worlds and tribes and villages and people of tiny little planet Earth -

    L’chaim! Zum Wohl! Prost! Salud y amor y tiempo para disfrutarlo! Vashi! Saude, Viva! Gan bei! SkÃ¥l! Tervist! Ba’sal’a'ma’ti! Kippis! Sláinte! Jamas! Kedves egeszsegere! Salute! Chukbae! Keskun! Cheers! To Life! To Love! To You and Yours! Happy New Year!

    Re - story/topic matters:
    Global Political/Economic Trends, US Foreign Policy, US Defense Policy, Power/Electrical Generation (Meeting Demand), Recycling Mega-Tons, Next Year Climate Projections (Drop 2050-2099), US Coastal Development, Forest Management and Fire Control, Climate Simulations and Near Term Reality, Public v. Private Education, Vouchers for Parents with Children (Free Choice), What Comes After Labor Unions,  Government Motors & Government Electric & Chinese Competition, Political Parties & Constitutional Philosophy, Free Enterprise & Taxation, Orwell’s 1984 & Obama’s 2012 – Where are we going?, The Future of Print Media, Professional Organizations – How they are managed and who they serve, Recreation and Relaxation and Mental Depression,  Food Additives and Natural Resistance to Disease, Religion & Peace, The UN – Are we dreaming down wars and the end of evil things, Do we have too many lawyers, How prepared are Americans for Super Disasters,  American Know How – A Myth, What’s wrong with our Federal System,  National Debt – How Stupid Are We, The Next Depression – Not If But When, Tenure as We Know It – What’s Wrong, etc.;-)

  • grypo

    I’d like to see more “big-picture” political talk that has to do with the environment.  I don’t mean the pointless meandering about who-we-are-going-raise-taxes-on but i mean the effect of our current political system on dealing with environmental issues, the effects of bank speculation on food prices, eurocrisis, etc. and what the media’s moral responsibility is in not just informing, but telling the public the ‘whys’ and holding people and systems accountable.  

     

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, a senior editor at Cosmos magazine, and adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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