An Honest Response to Bill Hedden, the Grand Canyon Trust & ‘A Just and Healthy Future for the 100%’…by Doug Meyer

Bill Hedden.

“In order to maintain our way of living, we must tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves.”

— Derrick Jensen, Endgame: Volume 1: The Problem of Civilization


Formed in the mid 1980s in order to dispel the environment vs. economics tradeoff in the public’s mind, the Grand Canyon Trust has been a rich man’s dream organization from the beginning. The Trust relies on  a gullible consumer society believing what it wants to believe, and many of the philanthropists supporting GCT might still swear by the group’s founding principle, which argued that endless economic growth could be decoupled from environmental impact.

God only knows the extent of conscious deception on the part of GCT backers over the years. But one thing is certain. Now that their basis has been exposed as myth, and the signs of global environmental collapse are everywhere, the death of the Grand Canyon Trust’s founding philosophy hasn’t reached the desk of its Executive Director, Bill Hedden.

On April 27, 2012, Hedden delivered “a most thoughtful and provocative speech,” according to the Trust’s facebook administrator,  titled, “A Just and Healthy Future for the 100%.”  He spoke at The University of Colorado Law School symposium in honor of GCT Trustee David H. Getches. His remarks began with a troubling observation:

“Three years ago,” he said, “I asked a neighbor’s grown daughter why the food security movement struck such a chord with young people these days. She answered simply, ‘Because we know that you guys aren’t going to do anything about climate change, and when everything falls apart we want to be able to feed ourselves.’
“Of course, in those days, we believed that the Congress would surely pass legislation to curb our domestic carbon emissions, and somehow international agreements would pull us out of a planetary climate nosedive. But the intervening years have shown us that my neighbor’s daughter was right…”

Bill Hedden observed that, “These are hard things to think about.”

I am sure it is extremely difficult for Hedden to consider these “hard things.” I hope you’ll read his speech of April 27 about being awakened to the urgency of the global warming problem through a series of confrontations with the younger generation. Then come back here for a better understanding of the catastrophe that has already occurred.

–Doug Meyer

Read Bill Hedden’s speech here:

My Response to “A Just and Healthy Future for the 100%”

I don’t have any kids myself, which allows me to respond honestly to Bill Hedden’s mea culpa to the younger generation and ever-more-heart-breaking call to action on their behalf. Let’s get this straight from the top: not having kids is a huge advantage here because my view of the future is not obscured by what I would otherwise need to believe if I had children to be concerned about. I’m free to arrive at any conclusion, allowing the facts as I perceive them to be my guide. The loving parents, Bill Hedden among them, probably aren’t capable of sharing my perspective of climate change and what it means for our civilization. In fact, it appears that Hedden (the conservationist!) only allowed himself to begin to see the magnitude of the issue after the younger generation exposed his protective blanket of misinformation and started hammering him on his feeble efforts to save the planet.

But despite what he’s learned, and despite the looming global calamity he acknowledges, Hedden still relies on the much too easy carbon pollution narrative of his own generation and ends up failing young people once again. Amazingly, on the issue of global warming, the executive director of the Grand Canyon Trust just doesn’t get it. Perhaps that’s because he’s been selling the public for years on the idea that they could make a difference if they bought a hybrid vehicle, or bought a backyard wind turbine, or bought a piece of paper certifying that a tree was planted somewhere to “offset” one’s emissions. Or maybe it’s just because what follows is beyond what “we normally allow ourselves to understand”.

For example, one of the most endearing aspects of Hedden’ talk is its lack of memory of key details surrounding recent global climate efforts, which we’re sure GCT at least watched closely. Though he does remember that just a few years ago our generation hoped for a global deal on carbon emissions, he does not apparently recall either that a) the proposed deal was nowhere near what the science said needed to be done while leaving all the hard work to future generations, or b) what the consequences would be for the Earth when such reductions were not immediately forthcoming. In the face of this colossal failure of humanity’s current power structure, Hedden spends no time analyzing where his own organization, funded mostly by the 1%, fits in the scheme of things, and his message is now pathetically reduced to urging that people be the change they want to see in the world! Such a massive disconnect between reality and advocacy is often called greenwash. I think young people are at least owed the truth behind this failure.

Can we hazard a guess at how many times in the last twenty years Bill Hedden has sat in Grand Canyon Trust conference rooms watching videos on climate change? I can’t, but I’ll venture one thing about those videos: they generally avoided topics like ocean thermal inertia, or an in-depth look at all of the forcing components (measured in watts per square meter), or carbon cycle issues like ocean outgassing of CO2 during (theoretical) atmospheric drawdown attempts. Hedden says that he relies, among other things, on James Hansen’s speeches, but I have to wonder if he’s also read his book and papers, since everything I discuss here comes from those sources.

Virtually all activists make the same mistake regarding climate inertia, and this talk is no exception. On the Colorado Plateau, he tells us that “Native grasses will be extirpated from the region within 30 years, taking the habitat for the rabbits and mice, which feed the coyotes and snakes and foxes and raptors. That is what it means to wreck the base of the food chain.” Fair enough, but because of ocean inertia, most climate impacts to occur in the next 30 years are going to happen regardless of what humanity does over that period. So if Hedden’s science is right, and if exotic grasses can’t provide habitat either, then it’s likely already too late for most of the mammals on the Colorado Plateau. This idea cannot be emphasized enough. If there are any tipping points driven by atmospheric temperature that are lurking out there in the next few decades, then we’ve probably already passed any opportunity to avoid them.

Second, there is a very inconvenient truth for environmentalists in the components of overall climate forcing (the changes that affect the energy balance of the planet). Not talking about it has the effect of a huge lie on one’s environmental audience, whether the omission is intentional or not. Humanity has accidentally raised an extremely short-lived “aerosol parasol” over its head which blocks roughly half of the warming that would otherwise be occurring due to greenhouse gases. And the source of the parasol is fossil fuel emissions. If James Hansen’s view someday prevails, and somehow unified humans decide that overall climate forcing must be reduced this century, then a realistic reading of the forcing equation means that any global warming solution must, in addition to massive emissions reductions, include some sort of geo-engineering of the planet’s atmosphere. Such a desperate and extremely dangerous yet essential human messing with Earth’s climate goes against everything environmentalism was supposed to stand for. What would Hedden’s 7 billion people making a difference say once they notice that the sky is turning white? Of course, his speech conflates “saving ourselves” with “saving the planet” and perhaps you have to be pretty old to care about that distinction anymore. I just see human hubris, the very same thing that brought us here to the edge.

There’s one last climate truth that needs discussing due to it being left out (as usual) from this latest “progressive” speech on global warming. The issue is that carbon, once released from long term storage underground when humans burn fossil fuels, cycles between the atmosphere and other short term storage, such as the surface ocean and forests. In other words, it won’t be long before carbon in a tree or in the ocean is back in the atmosphere, while only the Earth’s natural processes can return carbon to long term storage. So not only have we already initiated irreversible climate impacts, we really have no practical way of achieving geo-engineering by extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere. In the words of James Hansen:

“At present there are no technologies capable of large-scale air capture of CO2. … The cost of removing 50 ppm of CO2, at $500/tC, is ~$50 trillion (1 ppm CO2 is ~2.12 GtC), but more than $200 trillion for the price estimate of the American Physical Society study. Moreover, the resulting atmospheric CO2 reduction is only ~15 ppm after 100 years, because the extraction induces counteracting changes in the other surface carbon reservoirs – mainly CO2 outgassing from the ocean …. The estimated cost of maintaining a 50 ppm reduction on the century time scale is thus ~$150-600 trillion.”  (my emphasis)

By contrast, Hedden’s view is of a series of unnerving climate symptoms showing the vulnerability of human food supplies to rising temperatures and melting ice and suggesting by their magnitude that things are beginning to spiral out of control. But we also get the sense that the problem could be solved if the now 7 billion people on the planet would start making lifestyle changes and tell their local politicians to outlaw fossil fuels. After all, “the answers usually aren’t complicated”. Until that happens, he recommends “an unprecedented joining together to save ourselves, using all the resources of technology and love available to us.” (There’s always a certain whiplash effect in trying to comprehend anything from GCT, don’t you think?)

At least Hedden honestly reveals some feelings of helplessness and futility in his professional work (“rearranging the deck chairs”), and this is refreshing, given that GCT apparently continues its long relationship with David Bonderman, who, with a net worth around $1.9 Billion and, as one of the world’s well known private equity players, symbolizes the global economic juggernaut that is wrecking planet Earth. If young people want to know why the Grand Canyon Trust isn’t doing anything about global warming, they need look no further. Bonderman, among his so many other business interests, is heavily invested in coal around the world, everything from mining it, to shipping it, to burning it; if it’s a coal sector, he’s probably making money from it. And some of that money ends up as a big chunk of the income column at GCT.

Is there any wonder then why Hedden does not mention James Hansen’s call for an accelerated (starting in 2010) two-decade decommissioning of all of the world’s coal-fired power plants? This is not a mere recommendation, as Hansen wrote four years ago that “continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions, for just another decade, practically eliminates the possibility of near-term return of atmospheric composition beneath the tipping level for catastrophic effects.” But such a rapid global shutdown of coal, without a realistic baseload power substitute, would of course likely mean the end of industrial civilization as we know it. Hedden himself admits that “Without massive action, most scientists believe we are headed toward atmospheric CO2 of at least 650-700 ppm, levels where the fossil record shows that delicately named non-linear scenarios kick in.” I ask the reader then, given his sincere concern for climate effects beginning to get out of hand, is he being clear enough in describing what will need to happen to our civilization, one way or another?

This is where the young protester, remembering the futility of Occupy last fall, may want to keep Hedden at arm’s length, instead of linked arm in arm. Trying to explain the title of his talk, which remarkably joins the 1% and the 99% together in perhaps “not enough lifeboats”, we can only guess how that’s going to work out. At least the notion of our doom is starting to cross Bill Hedden’s mind. Too bad he can’t quite admit why.


There are 21 members of the GCT Board and like any gathering of humans, it is represented by a variety of citizens with mixed agendas—some good and some not so good.  Within the board is this group of powerful industrialists/capitalists/entrepreneurs—more than half its membership. The biographical text is from GCT’s web site. It is difficult to reconcile Bill Hedden’s well-intentioned and heart-felt rhetoric with the composition of the Trust’s board of directors. And it is difficult to imagine a group less committed to the hard choices that a serious approach to this global crisis requires. They include...

Ty Cobb: Chair, Washington D.C.
Mr. Cobb is a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP, where he is a Litigation Practice Group Director and the Chair of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group and also Chair of the Securities Enforcement Practice Grou

Patrick Von Bargen, Vice-Chair

Patrick Von Bargen joined the government relations and public affairs firm of Quinn Gillespie & Associates in October of 2008 and focuses on clean technology, renewable energy, and natural resources issues.

Bud Marx, Secretary-Treasurer: Laguna Beach, California
Oscar (Bud) Marx is a retired Ford Motor Company executive. After 32 years with Ford, in 1995 he became CEO of TMW Enterprises, a private equity partnership with diversified investments in electronics, plastics, metal-forming, technology, and real estate. He has also been Chairman of the Board of Amerigon Inc., a high-tech developer of heating and cooling products based on Thermo-Electric technology, since 1999

Carter F. Bales: New York, New York
Carter Bales is Chairman and a Founding Partner of NewWorld Capital Group. Before NewWorld, he was Managing Partner Emeritus of The Wicks Group of Companies, a private equity firm focused on the information industries. He co-founded Wicks in 1989 and was a Managing Partner until his Emeritus role in late 2006. Mr. Bales was a Director of McKinsey & Co. from 1978 to 1998…

David Bonderman: Fort Worth, Texas
David Bonderman, Partner in TPG, Fort Worth, Texas, is a private investor with holdings in banking, airlines, media, and other areas

William D. Budinger: Aspen, Colorado
Bill Budinger, inventor, holder of over three dozen patents, founded and served for 33 years as Chairman and CEO of Rodel, Inc., a privately held manufacturer of products for the semiconductor industry.

Louis H. Callister: Salt Lake City, Utah
Lou Callister is a founder, former chair, and currently of counsel to the law firm of Callister, Nebeker & McCullough in Salt Lake City and is listed in “The Best Lawyers in America” in banking law

Mathew Garver: Atlanta, Georgia
Mathew Garver, Partner in Arcadia Capital Group, based in Atlanta, GA is a private middle market investment company. He also serves as a consultant to DLA Piper on large infrastructure development projects in the US and Europe.

William Grabe: Greenwich, Connecticut
William O. Grabe joined General Atlantic in 1992 and retired as a Managing Director in 2010. He continues to support GA in an advisory capacity. Mr. Grabe currently serves on the boards of AKQA, Quality Technology Services, Lenovo, Gartner, Inc., and Compuware Corporation.

Pam Hait: Phoenix, Arizona
Pam Hait is a writer and author and principal with STRATEGIES, a marketing firm specializing in tourism, development, Native American issues, and community relations.

John W. Milliken: Salt Lake City, Utah
John Milliken is the owner of Milcom, Inc., which was founded in 1993 to own and manage real estate investments in Utah, all of which have since been sold. Raised in the east, John spent 10 years working for W. R. Grace & Co. in New York City before moving to Utah.

Hansjörg Wyss: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Hansjörg Wyss is Chairman of Synthes, Inc., an international company that manufactures and distributes surgical implants and instruments. His success as an entrepreneur has afforded him the time and the resources to develop his skills as a true explorer.


Some links to one of America’s most controversial
environmentalists/venture capitalists.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  In addition to being a major contributor to many environmental groups,  and serving on the boards of the GCT and the Wilderness Society, David Bonderman is the founder of Texas Pacific Group (TPG Capital) and is Charirman of the Board and  Director of Ryanair discount airlines in Ireland…Forbes lists his private wealth at $1.9 billion.




. ….

AN EXCERPT:  Proposed clean air rules recently released by President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency that aim to cut mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, while likely to benefit workers in key swing states, will also produce other, unexpected winners — private-equity heavyweights Henry Kravis and David Bonderman.
The two, whose firms have invested in an energy company that runs coal power plants, will see more than $1 billion in savings because the EPA’s proposed rules go easy on the type of coal used in their plants.


AN EXCERPT:  TPG is teaming up with Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund to take a significant minority stake in Delta Dunia, a coal mining services company, in one of the largest private equity deals ever done in Indonesia.

Harrah’s to Build Retail Strip in Las Vegas in 2011, CEO Says

AN EXCERPT: Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., the world’s biggest casino company, plans to build a postponed retail development next year between its Flamingo and O’Sheas casinos in Las Vegas that includes a giant Ferris wheel….Leon Black’s Apollo Management LP and David Bonderman’s TPG Inc. took Harrah’s private for $30.7 billion including debt and transaction costs in January 2008.

The Billionaires Betting On Internet Gambling

  In 2008 private equity firm Apollo Global Management, run by billionaires Leon Black, Joshua Harris and Marc Rowan, joined with TPG, the buyout shop run by billionaire David Bonderman, to purchase Harrah’s Entertainment in a massive $30 billion leveraged buyout. The deal has so far not been a good one, but Black and Bonderman are still trying to make it work. The company, now called Caesars Entertainment, has been investing heavily in its online operations and backing a new Washington D.C. lobbying effort that includes former FBI Director Louis Freeh. If online gambling in the U.S. opens for business, it would certainly help Black and Bonderman, two investing legends, get out of a tough spot.

RyanAir CEO: “Global Warming Is Bull$#it

AN EXCERPT: The CEO of Europe’s largest airline Ryanair has called global warming “bullshit” and “horseshit” in an interview with the Irish Independent. Michael O’Leary’s scathing assault on the scientific theory targeted not just the idea of global warming itself, but those who perpetuate it.
From the Irish Independent:
“Do I believe there is global warming? No, I believe it’s all a load of bullshit. But it’s amazing the way the whole fucking eco-warriors and the media have changed. It used to be global warming, but now, when global temperatures haven’t risen in the past 12 years, they say ‘climate change’.”

TPG Capital Forms Venture to Buy Oil and Gas Properties in North America

AN EXCERPT:  TPG Capital, the private-equity firm that manages more than $47 billion, has formed a venture to buy North American oil and gas properties, starting with an acquisition in Mississippi…


DOUG MEYER is the Zephyr’s Colorado Plateau Chief, except we still don’t know what that means. He lives near Flagstaff, Arizona.

To read the PDF version of this article, click here and here.

Don’t forget our loyal Backbone members!





14 comments for “An Honest Response to Bill Hedden, the Grand Canyon Trust & ‘A Just and Healthy Future for the 100%’…by Doug Meyer

  1. Scott Thompson
    June 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Doug bluntly reveals the incongruity between Bill Hedden’s fine-sounding rhetoric about global warming and the financial interests of the honchos steering GCT.

    I believe that at some point young people will turn away from sympathetic words from older people. They will instead demand realistic, long-term planning that will give them the best chance at coping with with what lies ahead for them. The built-up financial interests of established people, who are likely to be dead when the awful-bad shit hits, will no longer matter to them.

    When this turning point will happen I don’t know, but it seems to me that at some point young people are likely to make it so.

  2. Lynn Jackson
    June 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Well, I kept looking for some redeeming value to this piece, and alas, found none. Perhaps my expectations were too high. I’ve always been respectful of someone attacking a problem, but I have some expectation they would offer some alternative solution. Saw none of that here. I want those 20 minutes of my life back.

    I have a real problem with people who have nothing to offer to any debate or dialogue other than announcing we’re doomed and anyone working to provide solutions is an idiot. I suggest you just go sit in your hut and shut up, or take you’re “We’re All Doomed” sign downtown Flagstaff and sit on a street corner and shut up. Problems the world has faced for millennium have been addressed by those willing to help, maybe not always with the best results, maybe not always with good intentions, but willing to help, willing to offer solutions. Nothing has ever been solved by the type of mean spirited diatribe and drivel I read in this article. Maybe it is too late, but I’m damn glad there are people like Bill Hedden still willing to try in spite of doomsday ninnies like Mr. Meyers.

    Bill Hedden is one of the most well respected individuals working on the Colorado Plateau and has spent a lifetime trying to make things better for all of us. Mr. Hedden is a skilled and gifted scholar and orator, who understands that the solutions to any problem lie with working with all parties involved. We can have civil discourse on the fact that mainstream environmental organizations happily take funding from industrialists with ulterior motives, but to impugn Mr. Hedden’s character for trying to make a difference, ostensibly because he has children crosses any line of civility I work with.

    Mr. Meyers what have you done? I suspect nothing of any value to anyone. Never even heard of you. I certainly won’t waste any more of my time reading future articles, or should I say hatchet jobs, put forth by you.

    And Stiles, you ought to look more closely at what you allow to be printed in your otherwise fine newspaper. This one crossed the line. We can discuss and debate issues, we can speak to alternative soltuions, but this article was nothing more than a cheap shot at a damn respectable individual.

  3. Ken Davey
    June 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Lynn, I did not read the article the way you did; I saw an effort to raise the issue that mainstream, increasingly financially successful environmental groups are more and more reliant on contributions from wealthy individuals who, at the same time they support wilderness in the Book Cliffs, are heavily invested in burning coal in Texas. Isn’t there something ironic about taking a stand against helicopter tourism in southeast Utah, but then taking a billionaire on a helicopter ride over southeast Utah in hopes of winning financial support?(And it wasn’t just donations to environmental groups; it was also an effort to support higher education initiatives in Grand County, something I think is essential if kids growing up in this town will have a chance–ironic doesn’t mean wrong or evil, but it DOES mean we should re-examine our assumptions)…I understand the argument that “we can take their money and use it as we wish,” but there are also arguments that doing so edges groups closer to accommodations to the views of the donors…. I don’t know Mr. Meyers. I did not think he was impugning Bill Hedden’s character, but rather his statements and actions. You may think Bill’s activities are good or bad, but can we have a “civil discourse” if critiquing some people is out of bounds? I suspect Bill’s critics exaggerate his weaknesses, just as his supporters exaggerate his strengths…Mr. Meyers wrote what he thought; did your comments give him a chance to rethink issues you disagreed with him, or have we lost a chance to establish or re-establish a “civil discourse?”….though, in truth, for those of us in Moab, can we psychologically deal with “civil discourse?”…

  4. Ken Davey
    June 1, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Possibly the tougher question, a question both Mr. Meyers and Mr. Hedden (and Mr. Stiles as well) may find uncomfortable: Did the hardcore opposition to nuclear power plants following the Three Mile Island disaster accelerate human-caused climate change? Did the absolute opposition to nuclear power lead to the construction of coal-powered plants that exacerbated atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases? Is continuing opposition to newer, more efficient, safer nuclear power plants mean extending the life (beyond designed lifetimes)of LESS SAFE, LESS ENERGY EFFICIENT, MUCH MORE DANGEROUS nuclear plants? Enquiring minds want to know….

  5. Ken Davey
    June 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Forgive the poor grammer and mis-spellings above….yes, I see grammer, but tonight I feel like a language rebel…..

  6. Scott Thompson
    June 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    After thinking the matter over – which always takes awhile in my case – I have a comment on behalf of my friend Doug Meyer in response to Lynn Jackson (see above).

    When it comes to global warming, our greatest need is for unsparing discussion of this approaching calamity. There is no leeway left for downplaying or ignoring any aspect of it. Right now we need Doug’s gift for saying things blunt and straight.

    A problem with the “willingness to offer solutions,” while that always sounds positive, is that it can sometimes lead to false hope. An example is Ronald Reagan’s seducing the American public with his cheery bromides (“It’s morning in America!”) in the face of our society’s emerging environmental problems. It’s only too clear now where all his upbeat “solutions” for America’s future have gotten us.

    Remember what Harry Truman said: “I don’t give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s Hell.” That’s Doug!

  7. July 9, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I’m with Lynn. What alternative is Meyer proposing? End the GCT?

  8. jim stiles
    July 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Mark…that’s such a cop-out. I have been doing this publication for almost 25 years and never have I seen such inflexible partisan intractability as I’ve observed from the mainstream “greens” in the past few years. So…no…I don’t think Mr. Meyer is proposing that GCT go out of business. As always, what Doug is suggesting is some honesty and accountability. This is what I wrote in my essay this time, introducing Doug’s piece:

    “The mainstream environmental community cannot have it both ways. It cannot seriously address issues that threaten the very life of our planet and still run $2 million payrolls bankrolled by some of the most conspicuously mega-wealthy members of “The 1%.”

    And it cannot continue to selectively obsess itself with the environmental impacts that come from the extraction and production of natural resources and pay no attention at all to the insatiable consumption that creates the demand for production and extraction in the first place. You can’t be a GCT board member and fly to your Trust meetings in a Gulfstar jet and expect anyone to take you seriously. And it’s a stretch to take any Trust staffer seriously who knows this is the truth and continues to ignore the hypocrisy.”

    We welcome honest and intelligent criticism. But to resort to hyperbole is pointless and counterproductive.

  9. Doug Meyer
    July 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Well no, obviously I do question the meaning of GCT’s existence, but then I don’t care who wins this fall’s elections either. So I’d guess there’s not much point in me arguing with either Mark or Lynn.

    But generally I think the critics here did not even read Bill Hedden’s speech. According to Bill, well you know what, I’m going to post another comment below this one with items from the speech, and again urge everybody to read the whole thing, or at least read the highlights below.

    Hedden himself is close to a transformative conclusion there, but of course he wakes up and remembers his place in the world and can’t pull the trigger.

    Obviously, I think GCT’s board determines GCT’s function as greenwash, and I’ve said so before (see Zephyr, Dec ’09) and will say it again. And it wouldn’t matter who their Executive Director was, ie., this isn’t personal against Bill. GCT’s existence or non-existence can’t change the outcome, but I do think their board and the public at large would be deservedly terrorized by the mass resignation of the GCT staff. People might start to get the real meaning of global warming as the end civilization process that it is. Bill Hedden is just barely starting to grasp it; maybe you should too.

  10. Doug Meyer
    July 9, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Selected text from Bill Hedden’s “A Just and Healthy Future for the 100%”:

    “when everything falls apart we want to be able to feed ourselves.”

    climate models that show a 15% decline in precipitation over the basin within the next 30 years.

    About a third of the species on earth are expected to go extinct

    “beyond 350 ppm we threaten the ecological support systems…and severely challenge the viability of contemporary human societies.”

    The land is in permanent drought

    Rioting broke out within hours before the power was mercifully restored.

    Sea levels are expected to rise by 6 feet during this century, drowning nearly every rice-growing river delta in Asia, and inextricably linking the fate of the hundreds of millions who depend on the rice to the fate of the far away ice sheets.

    Typhoon Marakot dumped nine and a half feet of rain on Taiwan in 2009.

    comparatively modest climate change in the past has routinely destabilized civilizations, through drought, famine and disease. The study notes that today’s societies are better resourced, but more dependent on infrastructure, more densely populated, and more vulnerable.

    The Colorado Plateau, where I live, is in the climate bullseye, projected to get at least 8 degrees hotter this century. Rising temperature bakes the moisture out of the soil and throttles photosynthesis, and even most desert plants cannot adapt. Native grasses will be extirpated from the region within 30 years…

    Without massive action, most scientists believe we are headed toward atmospheric CO2 of at least 650-700 ppm, levels where the fossil record shows that delicately named non-linear scenarios kick in.

    If that really gets going it will feed on itself and the permafrost could release the equivalent of 270 years of current worldwide CO2 emissions with no further help from us……and that is not dystopian science fiction; it is just what our planet does when the atmosphere gets this far out of whack.

    Once you’ve laid out the global dimensions of the problem, all the possible solutions seem puny in comparison…

    there might not be enough lifeboats

    we know we are in trouble and we are making ourselves crazy by whistling past the graveyard.

    And if the scientists are right and we have awakened a planetary geophysical wrath, where would you rather be when it hits than arm in arm with your kids and community trying to do the right thing, come what may?

    ~Bill Hedden

  11. August 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    It has been suggested in some quarters (Stephen Hawking amongst them) that the future of humanity lies in space exploration and colonization of the moon and other astronomical objects. I say fat chance. Before we can ever establish the Newt Gingrich Memorial Moonbase, we’re just going to fuck up the planet we’ve got, the only place in which we evolved as organisms, the one place in the universe where we conceivably belong, our true home. “Humanity: God’s Mistake” (I quote myself, thank you). So all of you hoping for solutions to the crap that has gone down and the even worse crap that is coming soon, you’re fooling yourselves. Doug Meyer is simply right. Grand Canyon Trust ain’t gonna save nobody’s ass in the long run. Have I exceeded allowable bluntmeter levels? Can anybody tell that I’m feeling better these days?

  12. Lynn Jackson
    February 4, 2015 at 10:52 am

    This comment is an apology to Doug Meyer. I’m try to be a big man and will admit when I’m wrong. In my previous comment I took Doug to task for attacking Bill Hedden, who I stupidly thought was a stand up guy even though I most often disagree with him. In the intervening time, from my new view of internal politics of Grand County, I now see Hedden is one of “them”. He’s smart, soft spoken, but one of “them”. What I’ve learned in two years of swimming in the cess pool of Grand County politics, is that “them” want to run all old Moabites out of Moab and Grand County, in order to create their own little haven of environmental enlightenment. For years I just thought the environmental organizations and Bill Hedden were fighting to protect areas of wilderness, and I could agree that there are in fact areas of pristine lands that we as a society and civilization should set aside. But now I see it’s about controlling everything, and these pesky old red neck Moabites, including the semi-educated, semi-enlightened one I am, are just getting in the way.

    Well, they are now on the doorstep of obtaining that complete control and shutting all public lands down from any type of resource development with the exception of industrial strength tourism. By doing this they get rid of cowboys, ranchers, miners, roughnecks, and rednecks, the last people that are in their way.

    I see clearly now that Bill Hedden is one of “them”, from his lofty $160,000 a year job leading the Grand Canyon Trust. Shut it down, displace the unclean, and you have your nirvana in Moab and Castle Valley. Thanks for doing your part Bill.

    Doug, my apologies. If your ever in Moab lets grab a cup of coffee.

  13. Doug Meyer
    February 6, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Lynn, I accept your apology and look forward to that cup of coffee…but what you just wrote again misses any points covered in Hedden’s speech or my response. Maybe because of the unsolvable nature many global and national problems, including global warming, our culture has reached the point that whenever somebody opposes another’s viewpoint, people interpret that as a personal attack. And maybe I wouldn’t be so diplomatic if I’d suffered thru the kind of political season you just did, but I wish this discussion would have stayed on subject. I don’t know Bill Hedden at all, but I was completely comfortable writing this article because it was a response to his well documented public speech. I was attacking what he said, not him personally.

    The last couple years have produced studies suggesting (to me anyway) that Earth may have a short-term (century scale) coping mechanism that transports at least some global warming heat into ocean layers so deep that the heat can effectively be considered “lost” on human timescales. Hansen’s data is still accurate, but look at the X-axis on his graphs. I’m less confident Earth will see a 4C rise by 2100, but even more certain of it much farther into the future.

    But I wouldn’t change a word in the article because it correctly attacks the standard progressive theme that our civilization can deal with human-caused global warming without drastic, un-planned human population and consumption reductions (a theme paid for by the 1%). It was precisely because Hedden’s speech reflected his own nightmarish yet still politically unconscious recognition that the horror might be unavoidable that I felt a response was necessary. I wish the discussion had stuck to this subject, i.e., the question of whether progressive politics continues to be based on a fundamental misreading of the science of global warming.

  14. Loch Wade
    May 5, 2015 at 9:59 am

    It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, but concerning the Grand Canyon Trust, and the eloquent comments posted, I have to respond.

    The Grand Canyon Trust can’t do anything to stop the inevitable. Maybe this is doom-ism, but I call it reality. I appreciate positive thinking and a solutions-oriented outlook. It is how I operate in my own world. But facts are facts. Climate change cannot be stopped by anything the GCT does. But it isn’t just climate change. 443 nuclear power plants represent an inevitable extinction event. It isn’t a question of if, but when. Inevitably, a combination of age, lack of spare parts, too much stored waste, human error, and a natural disaster will cause another catastrophic meltdown. This is going to happen. There is no way that it cannot happen. Fukushima is quietly destroying the Pacific Ocean, and we are not talking about it because there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

    Fukushima makes the Grand Canyon Trust irrelevant. It makes the GCT’s focus on “environmental capitalism”, or “free-market environmentalism” or whatever it is called, appear to be what it is- a dilatory and feeble-minded attempt to cling to an obsolescent world-view. It is just like a grand ball in Atlanta while Sherman waits at the gates, or the feast of Belshazzar, or some other, pithier, example of business-as-usual.

    The Grand Canyon Trust cannot change anything on the macro level. But it can destroy human lives and dreams with the money and power it possesses. Perhaps the GCT focuses on destroying local cattle ranchers precisely because it can’t do anything about the big picture. The devil is come down unto you with great wrath, because he knoweth he has but a short time.

    I don’t know what Bill Heddon is thinking. But I can guess that he likes his job, his 6-figure salary, and his gold-plated health insurance. The GCT has reached that stage in its life span where it is primarily interested in the continuation of its own existence. The only goal of the GCT at this stage is to attack and destroy those who are even more powerless to stop the inevitable, the working people of the rural Colorado Plateau. The tragedy here is that the GCT’s cannibalism is merely a desperate and bankrupt attempt to forestall its own demise.

    The only other thing I can say about the GCT is that it is the poster child of the end of the Boomer Age. Never has there been a generation that, with the noblest of intentions, wreaked the greatest destruction. Having said that, how does one find a positive solution to a hopeless situation?

    I would say that we should look to our spiritual condition. If we were able to end climate change and solve our nuclear wast issues, then we could go on being selfish and unkind to one another. Perhaps, if we were to come to grips with the inevitability of our situation, we would see that benevolence to others is all we have left in our power to do.

    Is it possible that we cling to irrational hopes of “solving” climate change by driving ranchers off public lands simply because we don’t want to make positive changes in our own inner lives?

    Loch Wade
    Boulder, Utah

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