Articles by Tom Athanasiou
Tom Athanasiou is a long-time left green, a former software engineer, a technology critic and, most recently, a climate justice activist. He is the author of Divided Planet: The Ecology of Rich and Poor and the co-author of Dead Heat: Global Justice and Global Warming. In 2000, with Paul Baer, he founded EcoEquity, an activist think tank focused on the development and promotion of fair and potentially viable approaches to emergency climate stabilization. This work has taken shape as the Greenhouse Development Rights Framework. Tom is now the director of EcoEquity.
So here I am in Washington (the other one) in a homey B&B just eight blocks from the White House. I came here for a number of reasons, not the least of which is attending a conference called Climate Change and International Development (which was, by the way, recorded, and it is said that videos will be available here.) It was pretty good, and the less-public strategy meeting that followed it today (at the Friends of the Earth offices) was even better. Strategically, very little could be more important than the development folks joining the climate battle. Especially if they do something new.
There's a lot to say here, and I'll not say much of it. I'm hardly an impartial observer and it would get too messy. But I do want to make a couple of bottom line points.
Friday saw a real eye-opener down here in the Berkeley area. Sir Nicholas Stern (of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change) was speaking at the UC campus, and there was quite a buzz.
Sir Nick is a celeb for sure, and all sorts were there: left, green dead-enders like myself, lots of climate and energy scientists, and a good smattering of new energy VCs, like the fella behind me from Nth Power (which, by the way, isn't giving up on silicon for thin film just yet).
I feel like I ought to introduce myself, since Dave just upgraded me to contributor, but maybe I've already been introduced. I'm the "more inconvenient truths" guy!
But I take the point. The expiry date has passed. I won't say it any more. Not much anyway. All I ask is that nobody say "tipping point" either. Or "building momentum." Nobody imply that technology is going to save us. And I won't say "inconvenient truth" ever again.
Actually, there is this one other little thing. I've managed to convince myself that the entire climate movement can be divided into two schools: the "building momentum" school and the "inconvenient truth" school -- and that the trick is to find a way to straddle the two sides, to help "get the ball rolling" without sacrificing the "right speech" end of the deal.
Here's an example of an "awkward thought" I've been on about this week.