Author, advertising and
publishing consultant, former
editor of Chicago and other
magazines, former creative
director of Campbell-Ewald and
other advertising agencies. For
more information, click here. Or
see Who's Who in America or
Consulting editor, historian, poet
and author of several books. For
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BLOGS and GLOBS: I have
been writing a blog since 1966,
only I didn't know it. In those
days, it came out in the form of a
newsletter on paper. Remember
paper? It never got lost in
cyberspace, although if it got wet
enough blog turned into glob. I
called it The Uncommentator,
and tried to make it amusing. To
read some of my favorites, see
Recent Books by the Frisbies.
Canoe Paddles for Ping-Pong?
October, 2011Ė Writers aspire to make an impact on the world. It has never been easy, Even when itís greatly to their benefit, people have to be told something over and over before it sinks in. I can think of examples from my own experience. As long ago as the mid-1950s I interviewed a University of Chicago geologist about the high level of Lake Michigan that year, which was eroding beaches and damaging lake front property. He explained that the lake level rose and fell through a cyclical range of about five feet. Although other factors were also involved, he had identified one cycle of about 23 years of solar activity that affected lake levels. I reported this in a feature article on the magazine page of the Chicago Daily News when the paper had a circulation of about half a million.
A few years later, the water level dropped as predicted. About the same time, developers began tearing down old lakefront mansions on the Chicago north side and building high-rise apartments to the waterís edge. More years passed and high water returned. Waves broke into ground floor recreation rooms. I didnít see this personally, but I envisioned Ping-Pong tables floating out to sea. During storms, waves on Lake Michigan can tower as high as 20 feet.
In 1979, a Columbia University scientist named Wally Broecker measured the rising amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and calculated how much worse the greenhouse effect would become in future years. His projections have turned out to be almost exactly right.
It took a few years for this information to circulate beyond scientific journals, but by 1990 I had picked up on it. In a 1991 publication about The Inconstant Earth, I wrote a chapter titled "Something in the Air" describing the carbon dioxide situation and its impact. About a million copies were distributed. After all these years, even as the Polar ice and glaciers around the world are melting and the sea is beginning to wash over low-lying coasts, many politicians remain in denial.
Now I imagine them eventually paddling around on Ping-Pong table rafts out of sight of land along with the architects and engineers who built those Chicago apartments. I tried to warn them, but they didnít pay attention.