Archive for the ‘People’ Category

“Planet in peril”

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Yesterday’s victory by Barack Obama has historical implications. But for the climate change story, not so much. Yes, a new administration will change the national policy on climate, and attack energy in a new way. But this was going to be true of a McCain administration too, albeit in a distinctly different way.

So it begs the question- how different? How far into the century of progress alluded to by Barack Obama will the next year take us? Will the now dominant Democratic party divide itself to its various factions and fight over old turf of regulation and entitlements or will it hew to the unification theme that was clearly resonating for voters?

One thing is clear, from a communication analysis. Only one phrase in the eighteen minutes of eloquence from the President elect referenced the climate issue, arguably by the scales measuring time and planetary space, the largest that face us. And it can be interpreted many ways that don’t reference the environment, nature or any other aspect of climate.

For the planet peril that clearly most dominates at the moment is not a construct of chemistry or physics, but of man. It is economics, and the toolbox of those who have succeeded in its ways, power. Will the forces that have done well in the current economic system be swept up and transformed by the army of hope? Will ‘yes we can’ be directed in ways that crack the walls of those who resist innovation, much less justice? The story of climate can be either the leading example of inclusive reinvention, or a casualty of those that cannot see beyond short term balance sheets.

The answers, of course are in the execution. And the optimism here is that the people that organized, built and ran a campaign that was capable of capturing the Presidency of the most powerful nation on the planet by a candidate that has numerous strikes against him ( black, broken home, middle name Hussien, etc. etc.) can bring that same vision discipline and execution to running a government.

From all indications, those in the climate change space in government are ready to do more, share more and help a proactive policy team go forward.

Old Windows need replacing

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Freeman Dyson has written, by way of a book review in the New York Review of Books, an in depth look at ‘Global Warming’ and analysis of the policy choices. Kevin Kelly has excerpted and elaborated on this in his own unique way. Now these are two really smart people, writers and thinkers that I have enjoyed and appreciated for years. Yet I find myself thinking that they are stuck in a paradigm that is so yesterday, much like single pane windows. We are all due to have our old windows removed and replaced by double and triple pane versions. It may take a hundred years, but it is going to be worth the effort, and put lots of people to work, and that is always a good idea.
Let me elaborate a bit-

The laws of physics and chemistry are pretty well set, but economics is a construct of man, and can be changed with our minds. We need to get economics to account for common values like the atmosphere, fisheries and other currently unaccounted for assets.

If we don’t escape the notion that the current economic model is actually viable, then we can’t really transform the society, much less the environment. The fossil fuel paradigm can’t lift even half the current have-nots out of poverty, much less the next three billion people. Other sources of energy need to be utilized. And there are lots of them available right now, without digging, without burning, without creating poisons. Between solar, wind and tidal, there is more energy available every day than the entire fossil fuel inventory. We keep using ancient sunshine because we are creatures of habit, especially economically.

There are immediate economic and security benefits to turning our attention to both efficiency and production of clean – non burning – energy production. Even an oilman like T Boone Pickens gets this (although he wants to keep burning natural gas). Shifting the buying policy of the federal government to the cleanest energy made available to it is sufficient market influence. Moving all incentives/subsidies for fossil fuels to non burning energy sources and investing in a grid to distribute them will resolve the energy issues. The best place for nuclear is right where it is right now- in the sky. The best place for fossil fuels is in the ground.

We also need to stop thinking about whether or not we can succeed, and get on with trying. Tomorrow never knows. And although we will certainly know more tomorrow than we do today, that is no reason not to act on the ways we can reinvent living well right now.

BTW_ thanks for Doc Searls for keeping me posted on the outside world while I am in post.

Affluent Insecurity

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

From the beginning, this project has been challenging. The subject is immense- beyond our lifetimes, and horizons; complicated- it is truly global and part of every aspect of our lives ( you never live without weather and the climate defines so much of what we create in the built world) ; and probably most of all- beyond our control.

We will never control the forces of nature. We may be able to have influence, and mitigate what damage and havoc they can impose on our way of organizing our lives, but controlling weather and climate the way we harness physics and chemistry to our purposes? Not likely.

Because of this, I have had a problem coming to terms with the apocalyptic aspect of every climate related program I see (with the exception of “Dimming The Sun”). It is as if we cannot imagine a positive outcome to a story without end. Probably due to my own experience in theater going, I have resisted this approach. Sending an audience out the door scared and depressed just doesn’t fit my idea of creating value. At least it isn’t the value I want to create.

That is why I was turned by the scientists I interviewed to look at the efforts of the private sector to respond to climate change with capitalistic applications of self interest. It was intuitive.

Well, this weekend I have been voraciously reading “Breakthrough”. While a bit wonkish, and politics oriented, it has supplied me with intelligent analysis that explains my aversion to the end of the world theme of other climate related programs, and more importantly explains the underlying social and psychological reasons that these programs have failed to move us.

I won’t try to summarize the breadth and depth of the authors’ analysis here. What I do want to offer is one concept that I find applicable across a wide variety of issues in our nation- affluent insecurity. That we find ourselves today more comfortable materially, and yet insecure about so many aspects of our lives explains a number of strange seemingly irrational situations. How is it that being poor, which used to mean that you didn’t have enough to eat, now is an indicator for obesity? Why is it that as rich and affluent as we are, we report that we are less confident about the future?

All of the real progress towards self creation that our system of democracy and capitalism has enabled has occurred during periods when our sense of security has been high. So despite the amazing thriving of humans on the planet, the real suffering and violence continues. The fact that there is enough food for all, doesn’t result in no hunger. The fact that we could live in harmony with the rules of physics and chemistry, or even build upon them, does not get us to stop poisoning ourselves.

That is why this production will not be apocalyptic. It will not be simply a rational discussion of the facts. It will be a story of how people are working right now to overcome, to rise above, and to reinvent our economy, and our world so that we are both affluent and secure enough to address these challenges.

Can virtue change the world?

Friday, October 19th, 2007

Robert B. Reich has written an article in web edition of The American Prospect that suggests “It’s naive to think corporations can or will sacrifice profits to fight climate change. Firms that go green to improve their public relations, or cut their costs are being smart — not virtuous.”

I have to question virtue as a motivation. While the vast majority aspire to be virtuous, the number is exceeded by those that are hypocrites. We all want nicer homes, better jobs, a better something. None of us want to do the wrong thing just to get them, but we often do. Not out of being evil, no.

More by design, or a failure of it. As articulated in “Cradle to Cradle”William McDonough & Michael Braungart show how we have unwittingly fallen into a immense bad design problem.

Most of us intuitively know and understand that we will act in our own self interest. George Washington did. He stated that the real difference in men is in how they define ‘self’. For some people ‘self’ is just them and their immediate family. For others it is a whole community or society.

Well MCDonough and Braungart lay out a very good case for how poorly we have designed, and therefore defined, what self interest is in the industrialized society. And they suggest that application of our brains, including our imaginations, to redefining and designing how we construct our society, as well as our goods, can transform ourselves as well.

One can’t fault Reich for being cynical about corporations. But it certainly hasn’t been successful to expect the society to change out of virtue. Self interest will continue to rule. Will we come to see a redesign of our society, which by definition must depend on government ( on this Reich and I agree) from anything less?

Polarity

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

There is a lot of response to Al Gore winning the Nobel Prize. As with all things Al, there is plenty of polarity to this. Equally interesting is all the speculation about what this means for the issue, for the presidential election, etc. It has also brought out a lot of stuff that has already been said, like just how many things are wrong with details about how Gore and by association other ‘enviros’ are overstating the situation. Given how little it takes to rend the social fabric ( recall the wild west video of post Katrina New Orleans) it doesn’t seem that outrageous, but still I don’t like any data manipulated. I don’t think most people need to be jerked around to get them to think, or act.

So one thing to come to my inbox was an article by Patrick Michaels that appeared in the National Review just before the Academy Awards. It took issue with both Al Gore and George Bush relevant to climate change. This is what seeing it seven months later suggested to me-

On the issue of the ice melting- everything we thought we knew about it has been proven wrong in the last three years. There is a forty year minimum lag in carbon loading the system at least, so the trends we see now can be expected to continue, and most of the discussion is about how many degrees increase will that known load actually cause. When it melts isn’t as significant as how soon can we stop adding to the reason it is melting. It is probably going to melt within a couple hundred years, but that isn’t really our first problem.

What we don’t know are the effects are of specific impacts on the biosphere. Most of the surprises we have right now are not about the ‘highs; but how ‘lows’ have risen. This gives us the massive die off of pines in the northwest, especially BC, where the dead trees are now over a half a million acres. This is because the winters aren’t cold enough to kill off the pine beetle. This sort of stuff – unpredictable because the biosphere is relatively understudied and not understood, but critical to our economic and resource matrices – is going to multiply, even if we see only the low range of the possibilities. There are also the increases in extremes- highs, floods, range of storms etc.

So the realistic set of things to do is be prepared to adapt in whatever way circumstances require. The best adaptation preparation requires lots of cheap clean energy, and the ability to rebuild our society wherever the food and water supplies will be stable. So a whole new energy and building reinvention is called for. Transportation is right there too. Ultimately we don’t want to be burning anything to heat, run or cool anything. Electricity is the most flexible and portable energy, and the sun dumps more than enough energy to generate the electricity we need on virtually every part of the globe, even the higher latitudes. The existing grid, enhanced and regated, becomes a method of distributing from where ever it is sunny to wherever it is cloudy or dark. Eliminates issues of mass storage, and lets everyone decide for themselves if they want to be in the energy selling business. Done right, it won’t be a big decision, because we should be trying to make energy like salt, a cheap available commodity we used to have wars about. Everything else is a negotiation with death of the existing paradigm, which is to be expected. Maybe soy for fuel is a good way to help farmers deal with the fact that their land is going to be changing right underneath them. That is a marketplace equation of its own, although heavily stilted by corrupted political processes.

All of that means that virtually all the current ‘energy’ companies, to say nothing of the automakers, have to reinvent themselves, and most of the political fight right now is about how to suck the public trough while not doing that. Like many of the other ills of our society, this is about some very rich people wanting to be richer still while the community is not served. Every aspect of regulation today that is considered onerous by fair minded people had its start in trying to reign in an unintended consequence or design flaws of the industrial evolution. Why are we so calm about the fact that a food stock like tuna is being restricted because of heavy metals accumulating in them? This is a direct consequence of poor design and accounting of the true costs of the industrial processes that put those metals in the water in the first place. Today there is no ‘away’. There are too many of us to think we can just go somewhere else and find clean air and water. Even those who want to leave the planet.

The real legislation we want is about encouraging a huge investment in clean energy, a big tax break for people buying clean cars, appliances, and a huge advantage for those who build ‘green’ buildings. The carbon marketplace needs good governance too. We also need to create fees on those who don’t adapt to pay for the losers in this – coal miners who will be retrained to be solar installers etc.

At the end of the day, everything that should be done in response to climate change turns out to be great for energy independence, which translates into national security and a foreign policy clean up, and economic vitality, since the people that solve the cheap energy puzzle first get to lead the world in this. Check the price of oil and steel. These are just beginning their inflation; given the scale of development in the world and that there are four billion people that want to live as well as us. We should be figuring out how to get rich making it possible, instead of arguing about what might be two percent of the gross world product over a hundred years to figure this out.

Love All Children

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Over the last two weeks the pace of interaction with the green entrepreneur community has accelerated, and the evolving public discourse that constitutes our moving target has slowed down. As one is immersed in the pool of those who have rolled up their sleeves and dived into actually doing something, that public discourse looks, well, slow. Slow as in not very imaginative. Slow as in not too bright or just fearful. Slow as in ‘don’t mess with my cheese”.
Last week William McDonough spoke at the Always On Going Green conference where we were interviewing green entrepreneurs and networking for our live tour concept.
He asked what our intention as a species was, and offered this- Love all children of all species for all time.
I think we ought to adopt it as the mission statement.
We’re hoping to get him on camera next week. soliciting your best wishes on this.

Air Play

Saturday, April 1st, 2006

Yesterday, I had a meeting with Mayor Marty Blum to go over some possible activities to develop creative commerce in her jurisdiction. She started the meeting by telling me that she had to be over at Soho to appear on the Al Franken Show today .
Last night my buddy from high school, Gary Ousley called to tell me that Franken was in my town and I “had to go”. “But I have a meeting with the Mayor in the morning” I protested. Gary insisted that Franken is today’s true patriot, being able to galvanize the audience that is the flagship of Air America. This week was his two year anniversary of being on the air. Certainly being humorous about all that is going on makes him much more listenable than the rantings that usually fill the air, regardless of ideaology.
Then having the Mayor tell me she was nervous about the appearance, and suggest that I should go over with her it just was too much to not go have a look, even though I had a teenager home on vacation, and stuff to do.
Drove by the parking lot for Soho. Packed with a line. Went by the next block- same thing. Turned a couple of corners and right there on a side street was someone pulling out. Easy fit. In I went.
From the outside, Soho looked closed. There was no noise to speak of. I had been listening to the show on the drive, and he was chatting with Harry Shearer, most known today as voice talent on The Simpsons. My favorite Shearer work is his Le Show, Sunday AM on KCRW – which you can download for free- unlike the Franken Show. (It’s only $1.95 for a day at the max)
They were coming to the end of the segment as I parked, and they closed the segment saying “From Santa Monica”. So seeing Soho looking closed made it all a bit confusing. But I went to the door, and as I pulled the handle, it opened, with a Franken staffer inside who gave me the once over, and waved me in while indicating I should be quiet. The place was pretty full, but there was room in the back with empty chairs. Franken was doing a dueling negative voice over guys bit with Shearer, who was in Santa Monica.
Watching radio. Remarkably entertaining.
The bit ended, a break started, and the Mayor went on stage. Marty was great. She projects modesty and folksy, but clearly is a woman committed and in action. She welcomed Al, and they discussed her having been part of the select group of Mayors who have been opposed to the war, signers of the Kyoto accords and more. “I keep looking for what I can do” she said in her wrap up.
Another break. On the radio, one imagines that something must be going on during the break, because there is always applause on the return from the live audience. There isn’t anything really. The Franken production doesn’t even cue the audience. They just seem to know. But this break there was something. Because the next segment was going to feature a member of the audience, they had to select somebody. In honor, I suppose, of Shearer’s appearance, they posed a Simpsons trivia question, with a political bent. Turns out, thanks to my children being total Simpson fans, and my having bought a Replay TV early in the PVR rollout ( I figured any company that the studios felt moved to sue deserved my support) they and I have seen the majority of the more than decade of the show. Homer and Marge have done a great deal of socializing my kids, I have to admit. So I knew the answer instantly and put my hand up.
Of the hundred and fifty or so people in the room, I only saw a couple of hands. Maybe because I was on the aisle, and right in front of Franken, even though I was in the back, he gave me first chance to answer (“your hand shot right up- you knew” he told me).
So I had that weird and wonderful experience of the totally unexpected. I certainly had’t gotten out of bed today thinking about being on national radio. Walking up, having a crowd look me over, getting up on the stage, and being told where to sit and what to do, and then killing a few minutes of the break, with telling them my name, giving out my business card, explaining what I do, and what Ceilings Unlimited is, and mentioning my having worked with an old collaborator of Franken’s on Andy Garcia’s “Lost City” last year, and talking about our similar family rituals of watching The Simpsons. It was all very warm and Franken is really available and human while being totally professional. I got comfortable before the countdown started. Was able to look around and see a neighbor in the audience so I could reference and connect with someone else, just in case I got lost with Franken.
The segment was a game, where they play clips, and you say whether you think it was the truth, a lie, or what Franken calls “a weasal”- something that is true, but meant to mislead. Since the first three were all conservative pundits or talk show hosts, it didn’t take much to say “lie”. Doing so with something extra was mostly beyond me, but I gave it a shot. The last one though was a pretty good set up. A GW Bush quote denying connecting Hussien with the 9/11 attacks as justification for the war. I called it a weasal, because ” I haven’t actually heard it out of his mouth” and the quote was that he didn’t ‘say’ it. Franken gave me the wrong buzzer and then changed it to a righ bell when he read that it was in the letter that Bush had sent to Congress that he had made the connection. Franken was generous enough to say that I had played the question better than he. The audience was cheering for me to get the answers right, although you get the same prize win or lose. It was still nice to have the crowd with the local rep, especially being the local rep.
I got a CD that is for sale, and I got him to autograph it. I learned a neat trick of how to open a CD jewel case when his engineer broke open the case at the hinge and totally skipped the annoying task of trying to remove the tape on the side that usually takes you forever to remove.
By the time I was off the stage my cell phone had rung about six times. I walked to the back and heard messages from people I know, who I had no idea would be listening. And my friend Gary who was totally geeked. That was when it hit that this had been live national radio.
It wasn’t really much. The show can’t really rely on a random person from the crowd doing much, so the role is very light. It was still good to get to have a few minutes with Franken, see the production up close ( they build their hardware out of local stuff wherever they go) and now I can hear what my voice sounds like at that level of production.
Franken stays after his performances and signs his books, or anything you might want him to sign. Takes pictures and just continues to be available. While watching him do this, I got approached by a reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press and got to tell her about Gary, the Mayor, The Alliance for Creative Commerce. The assigned photographer, as well as another asked for my card so they could send me pictures, as well as asked me to pose with my autographed CD. Lots of nice strangers said kind things, and gave pats on the back.
When released by the reporter, I went outside, put on my sunglasses ( the sun was shining for this bit of an otherwise rainy day) and I went back to the day’s tasks. Real life included asking for, and getting a keyboard, mouse and RAM from Mac Mechanic (Thanks Mike!) for a Youth Alliance G4 that City College donated so we can have kids edit at home on the group’s projects, folding laundry and continuing to sort out options about how to best build a series arc of episodes that tell the NOAA story. The meeting with the Mayor and Councilman Roger Horton was positive with next steps set out. My anarchy/unity/love teenager thought it was ‘cool’ that I was on the radio. That is probably the end of what Ed Moses, head of the SB County Office of Housing and Economic Development called “your second fifteen minutes of fame”.
Life can be remarkably surprising, and yet mundane.
Franken did a benefit locally last night for the local Legal Aid. I hope the weather clears and he gets to enjoy a good day in town, if he stays.
The paper put my picture with the CD in this morning’s edition. The reporter described me as “still beaming” after my appearance. I’d like to think that anybody getting that much recognition for so little effort would beam…..

Post Oscar gossip-Lucas says big pics doomed

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

A friend pointed me to this story where George Lucas, described as ‘portly’, predicts that in less than 20 years the average movie cost will be $15 million.
I suppose that depends on how one determines what a movie is. Even if you use the releases by the studios into theatres, both the studio and the theatre are facing radical changes that makes two decades seem like a really long time.
George is an interesting study in how a short guy from Modesto went to LA, put together talent and relationships to break new ground both in business and art, and has spent every day since distancing himself from LA and ‘Hollywood’. Meanwhile he continues to work the very channels and people he claims not to be a part of. The back story of his love hate with the business will make a “Citizen Kane” type movie someday. I hope I outlive him long enough to see it produced.
The business in general is under attack, and the means and ways to counter are readily available, but the very filters that put the current management in charge also mean that they have no access to those ways and means. They aren’t nimble or forward thinkers. They are social and political masters, and when it comes to handling the transition from a push market to a pull market, from command of the consumer audience to the dialogue with customers enabled and demanded by a networked world, these guys have nothing. It isn’t even a matter of what they are willing to do. They just don’t have access, like fish don’t really have a clue about air.
So what George says is on track. I hesitate to speculate about the scale. The mountaintop and brand that “Hollywood” is will persist, and be converted by the companies that survive the impending decay and collapse. The MGM brand has been destroyed so many times, but like Italy, retains its appeal.
Attention spans and mobile ubiquity means that media will get shorter. The whole idea of a narrative story being 90 to 120 minutes of our lives is going to be challenged. Every communication, even the little signs in the market, and at some point the labels on the products, are going to be motion pictures battling for our attention.
Neal Stephenson, in “The Diamond Age” predicted the flat part of chopsticks will have dynamic scrolling marquees that will be sold as ad space. It all seems quite possible to me, given the progression of technology and the competition for people’s attention.
It is the progression of the social structures that may impede these things. Inability to act about things like the levees in New Orleans show that even when we know, we fail to act in our own interests as a society. Thus having the infrastructure required to enable the continued development may not survive the challenges suggested by climate change, bio chem, energy supply, water supply, to say nothing of ideological and religious conflicts.
The blockbuster will get made, but not as often, starting this year. Fewer movies are scheduled by the studios this year than last, and more of them are being made elsewhere. That means the talent pool, especially the below the line talent that has to work every day to pay their rent, will be available to the independent producer. Writers who pulled real bucks last year to write something that is in turnaround because the fear is clutching the purse at the studios (the panic over the flattening of DVD sales is changing the smell of popular hang outs), will write something they care about while they have money in the bank. Or get them to take little or no money to direct a project of passion.
We might actually be returning to an organic anarchic version of the 30s studio system, where people worked year round and produced three or four shows a year. In those days a director had to make a dozen pictures before anybody knew who they were. These days a dozen pictures is a career. Imagine how much better people get with more practice. Reduced toolkits are likely to bring out more creativity, not less.
The restrictions will also force the providers to develop applications that are much easier to acquire and use, instead of the ridiculous complexity of pull down menus and modes that we have to digest today.
While the disruptions will be hard on the current generation of middle managers, and ten percenters who have become so good at riding the gravy train and packing golden parachutes, the chaos will make a great deal of opportunity.
Which town is the next young George dying to leave in this decade? Or will she be able to access resources to produce and distribute from that town because it has world class connectivity? Might it be in India instead of North America?

character development

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

Monday, at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, James Cameron was presented with the Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking. Cameron, well known for his commercial successes with the Terminator franchise, and his “I am King of the World” clip from the Academy Awards for Titanic, was interviewed by Mike DeGruy before an attentive crowd. Cameron shared that he was among those in the feature film community that “looked down on documentary filmmakers”. His work over the last five years has changed his outlook.
Admitting that he ‘loves this stuff”, the gadgets, the deep sea exploration, he also said that the most satisfying part of the work has been “working with the team”. Whereas in feature film production he had “thousands of people working with me” and knew “about eight deep”, on the documentary the team is “maybe 15”. But given the work being out at sea on ships, and the complications of coordinating submersibles and whatnot, he has come to really get to know and appreciate the people working with him.
His desire to be “world class” was what had driven him to finance the development of tools and techniques to film in 3D deep underwater. Exploration, knowing that on any day he might see something “nobody has ever seen before” was motivation to find a niche others had not claimed. The rewards were in the experiences themselves, and sharing them with his team.
Given his history as one of the hardest driving producers and directors of his generation, Cameron’s genuine humility and expressions of appreciation of others was striking.

Keeling

Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

Keeling
This past Saturday, in one of those cosmic accidents, I was able to attend the memorial for Charles David Keeling at Scripps in La Jolla.

When we were first notified of winning the contract to tell the climate science story, our request to be introduced to ‘characters’ was answered by “you have to talk to David Keeling”. Unfortunately, goverment regulations prevented us from starting work until we got the actual paperwork, which couldn’t be delivered until the start of the fiscal year. Keeling died in late June. But thanks to his family, and Scripps, and my father being ill in San Diego at the right time, I got to hear about many of the rich human elements of Keeling the man.
His obsessive attention to detail, which helped make his long term observations of carbon dioxide “the single most important environmental data set taken in the 20th century” clearly carried into all of his life. But hearing about it from family and friends let us know that he was able to laugh about himself and this very characteristic.

Equally significant, I learned that he was an accomplished musician as a child, carrying music with him throughout his life, and into all his communities. I learned that he applied himself so diligently to everything. His efforts at community planning in Del Mar extended to his insistance that numbers and dates be given to the planning elements, so that his obsessive behavior meant that standards were created to give measurable meaning to ideas like “small village” and “sustainable”. He helped defeat developers in the valley where he had bought and was rehabilitating the homestead his grandfather had worked in the 19th century.

These examples of personal actions, as well as many others both gave me lament for having missed the opportunity to meet him, and a sense of inadequacy as a human. Not only was he able to convert persistance and obsessive attention to details into world changing information, he was a fun guy who had actual humility and patience with others.

One of the many great stories told was an anecdote a Del Mar neighbor shared about how Keelingsaw himself. At some point in the Del Mar planning battles, a developer had taken the extreme measure of calling the Scripps administrator and suggested he had better check into ‘this Keeling fellow’. The man expressed how Keeling couldn’t possibly be doing his work as he was so effective in frustrating the developers. The pay off of the story is how Keeling took his National Science Medal award as proof he had been doing his job too, and hoped the news got back to his underhanded foe.

Other great moments included his sons singing “Edelwiess” with alternate lyrics suggesting that the plant make associations with succulants and cactus, his daughter playing piano, and his Montana neighbors talking about his losing control of his ‘controlled’ burns.

Everything reinforced the impressions I have from meeting other climate scientists that it is an extraordinary set of people who are attracted to the subject. Competitive in their curiosity, pasionate in desire to understand nature, and do excellent work, the most consistent attribute is their sense of connection to the whole of society. They define a way of service to their communities, their disciplines, society and species, yet remain remarkably human in foibles and faults.

I was able thank one of his sons for the presentation. I can only hope to thank Keeling and his fellow pioneers by making what they have established as fact known to a wider part of the public.