Chemistry Change

I am a sucker for catastrophe, so I am fortunate to live in this age of (as the Chinese might say) “opportunity”. We are privileged to be witness to the twin cataclysms of peak oil and global warming. It may not have the immediacy and drama of the sack of Rome but, baby, it’s got size.

In the past year, I finally got to see “An Inconvenient Truth”, which really is worth seeing, even if you know all about global warming already, because it is such a clean compendium of all the issues, scientific, political, cultural, that we are navigating on our way into this crisis. It brings everything into a neat package, tied with a bow, a truly great work of documentary film making.

However, the real eye-opener for me in the last year was an under-appreciated article in the New Yorker, “The Darkening Sea” by Elizabeth Kolbert. The gist of the article is that by changing atmospheric chemistry (by injecting CO2 in higher concentrations) we are also changing oceanic chemistry (as the oceans absorb the extra CO2). The eye-opener is just how deep through the ecosystem this change in ocean chemistry reaches. I cannot recommend this article highly enough, it’s one of the best of the last couple years.