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Ken Ward's Posts


The night I slept with Jim Hansen

Students take a stand on Boston Common.Ian MacLellanIt seemed like I had just fallen asleep in my bivvy on the hard soil of the Boston Common on Sunday night, when I was rudely awakened around 1:00 a.m. by the voice of Craig Altemose, founder and driving force behind the Massachusetts Leadership Campaign, crackling through a bullhorn: "Wake up everybody. The police are here and they have given us a two-minute warning. If you do not want to be cited for trespassing, you need to move immediately off the Common." One hundred and fifty students and community supporters gathered for the …


Mass. religious, environmental leaders beseech Obama to take action

WWLD: What Would Lincoln Do?

Dear President Obama, cc: Sen. Kerry, Rep. Markey Our nation faces the gravest threat to our security and well being and the most profound moral challenge since the great struggle to end slavery. We were blessed, then, to be led by another tall, slim politician from Illinois. However, the terrible prospect of climate cataclysm, though just as grave, is more encompassing and final and calls for Presidential leadership of a higher order then even President Lincoln displayed. Lincoln triumphed over partisan politics and a ghastly civil war, but he did so by hewing to a moderate course, never straying beyond …


the rhymes they are a-changin'

Eve of Destruction (New Millennium)

Ken rewrote this song -- one of our favorites in the "music for the apocalypse" category -- as a rallying cry for the Day of Climate Action this Saturday, October 24, everywhere. He had to smoke a whole pack of cigarettes beforehand to get his voice that gritty. We'll be at the Boston Under Water Festival in downtown Boston.  Please join us in the spirit of 350, wherever you are. (Find an action near you at Eve of Destruction (New Millennium) music, Barry McGuirenew lyrics, Ken Ward The Arctic ice, it is a'meltin'The polar bears, they are swelteringYou've heard …


Roselle's Rollicking Tale & Moral of the Story Mike Roselle has a knack for being in the right place at the right time and a genius for creating confusion in high places. As with all effective rabble-rousers, he has left a trail of enmity in his wake (not always in the opposition camp), but that is to be expected in any political life anchored in truth and guided by the precept that disruption of the status quo on behalf of wild things and wild places is both moral obligation and wise strategy. Mike’s rollicking new book announces in the very title that this is a chronicle of …

Read more: Cities, Politics


Pop Quiz

Which of the following organizations -- U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Natural Resources Defense Council or the American Coal Council -- posted the following paragraph? “... policies to support CO2 capture and sequestration at power plants and industrial facilities could also help recover almost 37 billion barrels of stranded domestic oil by 2050. This increase in annual oil production using the CO2 from power and industrial facilities could cut crude oil imports by over 55%, create tens of thousands of new jobs, and generate up to $800bln in royalties for states and the federal government. In addition, this increase in domestic oil production could also prevent …


Killing it cleanly

Climate SOS campaign aims to defeat ACES for the right reason

As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comment makes clear, there will be no climate bill this year. This is a crucial step on the long and tortuous road to averting cataclysm, but defeat for the ACES placebo is of little long term consequence unless it is killed for the right reason. The Climate SOS campaign aims to do just that. “First we were told not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Then we were told not to let the good be the enemy of the mediocre. Then we weren’t to make the mediocre the enemy of …

Read more: Politics


Carl Pope says 350 ppm not strong enough, endorses carbon pricing and global tax & dividend!

In the Sept/Oct issue of Sierra Club Magazine, Club Chairman Carl Pope details four "fallacies about solving global warming" that must be scrapped in order to achieve "the transformational global deal we need to save our planet" in Copenhagen. Put in positive terms, and looking only at the specifics, Pope outlines the following platform. 1. Pricing carbon to subsidize renewables and energy efficiency. 2. International tax & dividend system to transfer fossil fuel-based corporate and national wealth acquired by exploitation of the global (carbon sink) commons. 3. Scrapping Kyoto: Copenhagen should start with a clean slate, unburdened by past political …


The not-so-trivial carbon impact of pet ownership

Should Kuba have a puppy?

Who could say no to this face?Ken WardKuba, 10, has waged a brilliant campaign. Unfortunately, I'm the target. Who can say no to a puppy? It's ... Grinch-like. My parents managed the trick, but that's because my Dad was raised on a farm and Grandpa Ken, on my Mom's side, trained hunting dogs -- so when my folks said dogs didn't belong in a city, who was going to argue? I don't have the background, or perhaps backbone, to peremptorily dismiss the matter, so I've fallen back on penny-ante arguments, the sort of weaselly excuses grasped by legislators who don't …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living


Heating the JP Green House with a hairdryer

The amazing promise and many challenges of passivhaus construction

I'm in decent shape for 52, but it took everything I had to carry a hefty piece of welded steel plate out of the backyard -- and I didn't place it any too gently on the curb when I got it there. So I was impressed when John from Blue Scrap & Recycling casually flipped the hunk of metal into his truck without apparent effort. John suggested we ought to give him a call when we have more demo work. "We're used to moving heavy stuff around," he said. "Plaster and wood, that's kid's stuff." Even so, it took John …

Read more: Cities


More climate strategy innovation from outside the envelope

MoveOn’s Masterful Move

Most every major advance in civic climate action has originated outside the envelope of U.S. climate politics as practiced by major environmental organizations and funders. The problem was first identified by Jim Hansen and other climate scientists, first brought to wide attention by journalists Bill McKibben and Ross Gelbspan, and popularized by New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert, who relied on their work. When identification of a menacingly global threat failed to prompt a vigorous US response, it was Gelbspan who put a finger on the political and cognitive roadblocks and sketched a global solution of appropriate scale. McKibben and the …

Read more: Politics