Denis Hayes is president and chair of the Earth Day Network, which this week is launching an Earth Day 2000 campaign focusing on global warming and energy use. Hayes was the national coordinator for the first Earth Day in 1970 and now earns his keep as president of the Bullitt Foundation in Seattle. Grist, not incidentally, is a project of the Earth Day Network.

Sunday, 18 Apr 1999


Roll out of bed at 4:30 am, Seattle time. Round up some files to review for a speech at Harvard tomorrow. Write a couple real letters and reply to a few dozen emails. Visit the CNN weather site to check for forecasts in Boston, Wash DC, New York, and Cleveland — the week’s itinerary. Bad news. Toss an umbrella into my suitcase.

Head outdoors for a quick run. Shave and shower. Gail calls me in to watch a three-minute clip on beavers — no music or words, just a silent visual essay on beavers — on Charles Osgood’s Sunday morning show. The beavers appear to have taken lessons in playfulness from sea otters. This appears to be the beavers’ effort to “spin” the cherry tree incident in Washington, D.C., last week. It works. They are adorable.

Wonder whether the otters are available to coach Gore.

Finish packing. Rush to the airport.

Any frequent traveler who doesn’t miss a plane every couple months is probably spending too much time waiting in airports. But this morning I need to change some reservations, so I’m early and have time afterward to read a couple articles in the local Sunday newspaper.

RealNetworks is a Seattle Internet company whose staff helped Earth Day Network think through some early web design issues. So I was interested in a prominent piece in the paper about RN’s stock. RN cost about $15/share a year ago, which struck me as a little pricey. But it’s a cool technology, and RN’s CEO, Rob Glaser, is a friend, so I planned to buy 100 shares for my IRA whenever the price dipped. Regrettably, it didn’t dip. By the start of last week, RN was $263/share — your basic 1,700 percent increase. The Sunday newspaper article noted that the price had plummeted to $170 on Friday. I am not moved to tears. If I’d jumped in at $15, I think I could have stomached that.

Speaking of stomachs, we’re now hitting a little turbulence over the Rockies. (I love my Apple Powerbook.) They’ve pressurized the cabin to about 8,000 feet. Wouldn’t want to do wind sprints up here. The airplane air is dry and stale. As always. Lots of the coughing and wheezing around me. I’ll have those germs in my lungs in a couple of minutes.

My statistically inclined friends tell me that, because of atmospheric mixing patterns, it is a virtual certainty that I will breathe some atoms that were exhaled by Julius Caesar. That’s pretty cool. But I could get along without breathing the viruses of the florid former athlete in the gimme cap and the Broncos jersey who two rows back. Hope he doesn’t have TB.

Plowing through my endless weekend email on the plane, I come across a report by the EU’s European Consultative Forum on Environment and Sustainable Development arguing that a major public awareness campaign is needed to make climate change a “key political issue” by 2005 or the EU will miss its goals. According to the Forum, “very little has been done to inform or convince” the public, which is “largely unaware and uninterested” in the global warming issue. Whoa: The case for Earth Day…

Landed safely in Boston. The city is in a buzz. Tomorrow is the Boston Marathon, and it’s also a holiday here (Patriot’s Day). Everyone says traffic will be worse than normal. Since normal in Boston is a state of congealed chaos, I’d better find a subway map.