For depressing but necessary reading, check Bill McKibbon’s latest in Rolling Stone. He calls it the most important thing he’s written since The End of Nature, way back in 1989. McKibbon does the math and it’s ugly. The fossil fuel that the oil and coal industries are planning on burning—the untapped reserves that companies are banking on—is five times higher than the “carbon budget” that would keep warming around the high-end limit of 2 degrees Celsius.

Think of two degrees Celsius as the legal drinking limit – equivalent to the 0.08 blood-alcohol level below which you might get away with driving home. The 565 gigatons is how many drinks you could have and still stay below that limit – the six beers, say, you might consume in an evening. And the 2,795 gigatons? That’s the three 12-packs the fossil-fuel industry has on the table, already opened and ready to pour.

McKibbon concludes that the fossil-fuel industry should be considered Public Enemy Number One.

Do foodies care about workers? We ask if the chicken is free-range and organic. But there are questions we may not ask, like “Does the poultry worker who killed the chicken get paid sick days?”

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  • Two from The Atlantic Cities: An infographic making the case for public transportation. And why creative people cluster.

    Eric dP:

    I enjoyed Knute Berger’s article about the playground renaissance that’s going on in Seattle’s neighborhoods. There really are some awesome new play structures for kids popping up all over the place.

    I encountered Ray Bradbury’s short story, “The Pedestrian” (via and via). The ending is altogether too 1950s-paranoia for my taste, but I sure did enjoy the feeling he evokes of walking alone at night through a city:

    Sometimes he would walk for hours and miles and return only at midnight to his house. And on his way he would see the cottages and homes with their dark windows, and it was not unequal to walking through a graveyard where only the faintest glimmers of firefly light appeared in flickers behind the windows.


    In addition to Anna’s Bill McKibben pick, Mark Bittman also has an essential piece on our climate catastrophe.

    I’m getting ready to start a long walk, and am making a karaoke book of walking songs. Here’s one of my favorites, in honor of Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday last weekend. The back story is pretty interesting, too.


    Massive iceberg the size of Manhattan breaks off from Greenland, may seek revenge against oil platforms.

    How sprawl worsens the impacts of drought—and how smart growth can help:

    In Seattle during peak season, households on 0.15-acre lots use 60 percent less water than those on 0.37-acre lots.

    The Yes-Men and Greenpeace create prank Shell website. More info on the prank can be found over at Forbes.

    Eric H:

    King County’s recent requirement for restaurants to include nutritional info on their menus may be having an effect on the food that’s served.