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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Hugh Bollinger
/ Categories: Uncategorized

I know a guy...

I know a guy who stuck his neck out to benefit everyone. He may go to jail because of his non-violent act. My friend is 30-something, I'm twice his age, and we met because he had the courage to take direct action over concerns of serious climate change induced by burning hydrocarbon fuels and the concurrent production of atmospheric CO2. His trial has now begun in a federal court in Utah. It was preceded by a march of concerned citizens who came from around the country to brave the cold and show support for his civil disobedience. [caption id="attachment_3208" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Bidder-70 march in Salt Lake City photo credit: Mountain Film"][/caption] My friend interrupted a series of oil/gas leasing auctions that were being planned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) by placing bids he never intended to purchase. Many of the lands where drilling would have occurred were situated near several iconic national parks in the West. Construction for drilling roads, rigs, and pipelines would have permanently altered the arid landscapes. My friend acted to stop the leases and was charged with a federal crime for doing so. Ironically, two weeks after the auctions, 77 of the leases were canceled anyway, after a lawsuit against the entire BLM oil/gas leasing process was deemed to have merit by the Obama administration. Since our first meeting, we have had long conversations about environmental sustainability and the fact that pollution, bio-diversity, and ecosystem services -- externalities in economics parlance -- are poorly measured by current economic models. We both agree that new paradigms are needed to truly address these existential local and global sustainability issues. I told him several Nobel Prizes await researchers who can combine both ecological and economic thinking into working models that illustrate how to live in and sustain this world. Presently, we place virtually no value on the Earth's natural capital or the myriad benefits that accrue from clean air, water, and vegetated landscapes. CO2 induced changes pose the biggest threats to humanity, and likewise solving or slowing those changes are the biggest opportunities facing all of us. Dealing with all the interrelated economic and ecological issues affected by climate change will take technological creativity, venture capital, and passion for positive change. My friend, Tim deChristopher, would be a more powerful spokesman and force for this change on the lecture stage than sitting on a jailhouse bunk somewhere. [caption id="attachment_3214" align="aligncenter" width="205" caption="Tim deChristopher photo credit: PU"][/caption] - WHB
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