Jon Isham

Jon Isham is a professor of economics and environmental studies at Middlebury College. He is the guest editor of Getting to 350, a special edition of Solutions which will be published in Summer 2010. He is also the editor of Ignition: What You Can Do to Fight Global Warming and Spark a Movement, co-founder of, and, most importantly, proud colleague of all of the kick-ass 20-somethings from Middlebury who are helping to change the world. He is the December 2009 Climate Papa of the Month.

When I say 'Copenhagen,' surely you think of 'Mary Jo Kopechne'!

The problem with ‘green group’ bashing

As Democrats in D.C. and their allies struggle to cobble together a meaningful climate bill, many are lining up to bash green groups. Some recent pieces have been excellent: Johann Hari’s ‘The Wrong Kind of Green‘ in The Nation. Others have been predictable: the folks at the Breakthrough Institute have stayed on message.  Now here comes good old Walter Russel Mead with a doozie in “The Big Green Lie Exposed” in The American Interest Online. I’m no huge fan of the USCAP/Green Group approach — I’ve weighed in more than once in endorsing the CLEAR act — but I’d say …

Let voters deliberate and I bet they'll choose $1100, putting the brakes on global warming, and green jobs.

What's the equivalent of 'slow food' and 'slow money' for democracy?

For years, environmentalists have been onto something with slow food and, more recently, patient capital. Each of these ideas has succeeded because they work at several levels.

It's about giving voters what they want

How Scott Brown’s victory can help get climate legislation over the finish line

So was that it?  With the stunning Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts, have we already reached the end of the Obama era?  After all — play dramatic cord — the Democrats no longer have 60 votes! I say good riddance.  Sure, if you’re a climate-movement activist, it’s not hard to be bummed, big time, by Brown’s victory.  Here’s a guy that went from a supporter of the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative — “Reducing carbon dioxide emissions in Massachusetts has long been a priority of mine” — to Limbaugh-lite — “I think the globe is always heating and cooling. … …

Dear NGO leader: Still want my $100? Answer these five questions

Whoa!  This is much harder than I thought.  Not only did I receive several new email solicitations since I asked how each of us should spend $100 to support the climate movement; my head is spinning as I read the many persuasive responses to that post.  Why the confusion?  All these green groups do seem so worthy.  At first, it’s hard to resist those local watershed groups and nature centers.  But hold on, UCS does seem to tell it like it is.  But wait – Tidwell and his brilliant band at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network? – of course they …

Channeling my inner Lomborg

Which green groups should get your last $100?

If you’re like me, your inbox has recently been inundated with cheery, post-Copenhagen greetings from green groups of all kinds.  Bless their hearts, they’ve all suddenly developed an interest in wishing me well. And let me confess: I love ‘em all.  Classics like NRDC and WRI, innovators like Clean Air-Cool Planet and 1Sky, hybrids like the Alliance for Climate Protection.  With all sincerity, I can’t say enough about the hard work and vision that most green groups have brought to our fight against global warming during the last few years.  With the most well-funded oppenents in lobbying history (in case …

Ready to build an unstoppable groundswell in 125 days?

COP15: the untold story

While reporters were busy writing about the violence in Copenhagen they missed the alive spirit that came from the world’s citizens gathered to fight climate change. Photo: Greenpeace Finland via FlickrJust off the plane from Copenhagen, little sleep under my belt, I’m full of ideas for how to ratchet up the climate movement, big time. Over a late-night beer this week, Jessy Tolkan, coordinator of Energy Action, perfectly captured what we have to do. For the moment, I’m calling it 10X.  A quote from Jessy — shared below — explains the name; let me first share some background.  As the …

Meg Boyle weighs in: Why Copenhagen isn't Kyoto

Meg Boyle, acclaimed youth climate leader (though isn’t it time we jettison the ‘youth’ modifier – I weighed in here on this issue last year!) and my comrade-in-arms at has this excellent new post from COP15.  Please offer your comments, and be in touch with her this way: Meg AT whatwedo DOT org **** As a matter of political strategy, many of the representatives of the US Administration at the UN climate negotiations here in Copenhagen are stuck in the 20th Century—nervous about upsetting Congress and repeating the 1997 Kyoto negotiations.  Kyoto, of course, was the all-important climate negotiation …

Does Glenn Beck also like to wear tutus?

Honoring Van Jones by reaffirming who we are

In his decade-long obsession with Dr. Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover revealed himself as one of American history’s most reprehensible figures.  Feeding on a stew of racism and anti-communism, Hoover used his considerable power as FBI Director to try to torment King into leaving public life.   His tactics were noxious – illegally taping King in his most private moments – and inexcusable – he refused to report legitimate assassination threats to King’s security team.  Most notably, as he realized that King was made of steely stuff, he went after his allies.  Stanley Levison and Bayard Rustin, two indispensable advisers …

Are you with Don Blankenship or against him?

We are all from Wise County

Want to get really angry about health care and global warming? Not the ginned-up rage of the Obama-was-really-born-in-Kenya crowd, but an anger that fires you up to take action in the name of justice? Anger like the rage felt by so many white Northerners and Southerners in 1963 when they saw Birmingham’s fire hoses turned on patriotic African-Americans, a rage so profound that they too joined the civil rights revolution? Well I invite you, in a brief audio and video tour, to bear witness to what’s happening in Wise County, Virginia. This Appalachian region, only a few hundred miles from …

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