Earth Day is OVER.

Not forever. Just this year.

But I didn’t finish reading the UN Climate Report. Or I HAVEN’T finished reading it. I don’t think it’s my genre. I need a few quirky characters, or a mystery of some sort to solve. Maybe some period costumes. A few laughs. Anything.

But I won’t give up.

I also didn’t make it to any climate rallies. My landlords keep insisting on a rent check every month, and when freelancers don’t work, no esta moolah. So how did I celebrate Earth Day? I got outside. After work. And played pickleball. In my CLIMATE hat.

Catskill Mountains not pictured. But that HAT, right?

Then went to a LOCAL pub for LOCAL beers. Heard some bluegrass. That’s organic, itn’t it?

More later . . . on the Climate Carnival, my book, and an IN-PERSON Citizen Deb performance that’s in the works! (Subscribe below for updates . . . )


Citizen Deb’s Report of the U.N. Climate Report

Good morning, earthlings. As promised, I’m making my way through the UN Climate Report.

Doodle by Karina Fassett, IG @shewouldnotdraw

I’ll admit, though, I’m a bit caught in the weeds. I get so easily sidetracked by seeing how many women climate scientists there are, for example; or by the terms used throughout the report to indicate the likelihood of various projections, from virtually certain to exceptionally unlikely. I feel a drinking game coming on: every time they say “more likely than not,” everyone does a tequila shot. By the end of it, we won’t care that the world is ending.

The IPCC also just released a THIRD part to the report {ay ay ay}, this time on the mitigation of climate change. Maybe I should just focus on that one, instead of all the doom & gloom of the first two parts. I mean, spoiler alert: It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred.

Where my climate deniers at?

Sly Stallone in cryogenic sleep . . . and very little body hair for an Italian.

I did have to look up “cryosphere,” and in retrospect, I could have figured it out if I’d remembered all the astronauts in every space movie since “Planet of the Apes”—they got there with cryogenics, baby. Went into the ol’ deep freeze for their millennial-long journeys. Ergo, the cryosphere is the parts of the Earth with ice on it.

I feel like a dummy for not getting that before, because I’m a BIG fan of the noösphere, that is, the (theoretical) planetary “sphere of reason.” According to a couple of intellectual types back in the Victorian era, the noösphere is the third stage in the earth’s development, after the geosphere (which is inanimate matter, like dirt and rocks), and the biosphere (biological life, like trees and fish and social media influencers, if they are, in actuality, alive). This also complements Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory of natural selection. Anyway, these old-timey dudes posited that just as this life thing had fundamentally transformed the geosphere, the emergence of human cognition would fundamentally transform the biosphere. Thereby creating the noösphere—or the planetary mind. BOOM.

NOÖSPHERE: the sphere of thought encircling the earth that has emerged out of the evolution of human consciousness . . . sadly, now clogged full of weight-loss apps, unlimited “doodle” dog breeds, and the Murdoch family.

Believe it or not, a priest came up with this concept. He was French, though—naturellement. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Well, de Chardin and Vladimir Vernadsky, a Russian-Ukrainian biogeochemist, sort of co-created it. Long story, but they met in Paris or something (a century and a half before Zoom meetings), and were seriously ahead of their time. Too bad they didn’t know HOW we bozos would transform the biosphere—namely, heating it up just enough to throw everything out of whack so hard that a planet ruled by chimpanzees would be a welcome respite.

Vernadsky also published a book called War and the Progress of Science, in which he stressed the importance of science in regards to Russia’s war effort. I guess everyone has their dark side. He’s also on Ukraine’s largest bank note—the 1,000 hryvnia bill. There’s a LOT of irony here, ammiright?

Vladimir Vernadsky, philosopher scientist or war-monger? Russian or Ukrainian? Or all of the above?

Vlad was a bit of a romantic as well. He wrote this to his wife Natalya in June 1888 from Switzerland:

“To collect facts for their own sake, as many now gather facts, without a program, without a question to answer or a purpose, is not interesting. However, those chemical reactions which took place at various points on earth are closely tied to general changes which the earth has undergone with the general laws of celestial mechanics. I believe there is hidden here still more to discover . . .

—Vladimir Vernadsky

I really don’t know what he’s talking about. But I wonder if I can get my “steady” to write me letters like that in between our weekends together . . .

Can you tell I’m procrastinating on the UN Report? I did have a bit of a revelation, though, about why I keep having to read the same sentences over and over. COVID BRAIN. A friend of mine who had it pre-vaccine says it took her a YEAR to get her brain back. I had a waaaaayyyy milder version (post-vax and boost), but the struggle is real.

Alright, I’ve got . . . OMG, one week until Earth Day. Even if I quit my job, hired someone to cook my meals, and turned my French press into an IV drip, it would be “exceptionally unlikely” that I could read all three parts of the Report by then. That said, when I was in school, I could cram like a rock star, so I’ll do as much as I can.

Until then, I’ll end with some good(ish) news from Part 3 . . .

We’ve got the ability to halve emissions by 2030. That’s only 8 years. And we’ve already started slowing it down.

Mt. Vesuvius from space. Nothing to do with climate change; just cool.

Don’t get me wrong—emissions are still rising. In the 2010s, global greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest since Mount Vesuvius erupted. And that only destroyed one city. But there is climate action happening—or as the Climate Panel scientists say, there is “increasing evidence” of climate action. (Do not ask a scientist to ever commit to 100% assurance of anything.)

And we have the tools and know-how to get this done—to limit warming. But without so-called “immediate and deep” (that’s what she said) reductions across all sectors, the Report says, limiting global warming to 1.5°C—i.e., making sure the Earth’s nervous system doesn’t go into full-on panic attack—is out of reach. (Remember that word “deep”; we’ll get back to it in a sec.)

So we have the tools and the know-how, AND the costs of solar and wind energy—and the batteries needed to store them—have dropped 85% in the last 12 years. (12? Random.) AND a growing range of policies and laws have enhanced energy efficiency, reduced rates of deforestation, and accelerated the deployment of renewable energy—even after the rollbacks by a more modern Russian sympathizer, El Trumpo. The current Admin is still in the process of unrolling them, which may have something to do with my paying $4 a gallon for gas for my Beetle, and don’t even ask about heating my house. ($2,408.83 just for this winter.) So, fire up those wind turbines, NYSEG!

Last ski day of the season . . . or ever??

Well, not “fire up,” but ya know.

The major domo of the IPCC, Hoesung Lee, has said, “We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future.” I’ll leave it to you to figure out if Lee is a man or a woman. But they continue: “I am encouraged by climate action being taken in many countries. There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective.  If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation.” There they are! The “deep” emissions!!

My point is, it’s not too late to stop things from getting worse. Why don’t you all meet me in Albany on Earth Day for the big Climate March? Let’s make some NOISE . . . and GO DEEP!!!

Um, one more thing that I just discovered in reading this damn report and its accoutrements: there’s more coming. It turns out that Part 3 is “the third installment of the AR6, which will be completed this year.” {Citizen Deb passes out.} It’s like the Batman franchise—it never dies. I’m pretty sure they’re jumping the shark in Part 4: The Earth learns to surf, but accidentally destroys Antartica when she clashes with a wave. Ed Begley Jr. is the guest star.

Fingers crossed Part 4 is as good as this was back in the day.

Oh! And I almost forgot to mention, I just signed on to help put on a Climate Carnival in my county in July. I’m spearheading the marketing, particularly social media. Holy crap, I’ll be using my powers for good, people! My first goal is renovating the website they’ve already created. (I’m not gonna link it here until after I get my hands on it.)

Alright, see you on Earth Day. (Send tacos.)


p.s. Subscribe below for updates, and tell me in the comments how far YOU’VE gotten in the Report. 😉

Quiz Time! “Are You a Feminist?” (a video)

Well, we’re coming to the end of Women’s History Month, and this feels like a good way to wrap it up: a quiz I gave to an NYC theater audience to determine: “Are You a Feminist?” It’s pre-pandemic, when we had live theater. Or at least theater that didn’t require you show a government document from the CDC. Visual aids! Sexy tree trunks! Female condoms!

BTW, that’s the pink linen blazer I wore to my mammo a few weeks ago.

Leave your score in the comments below. 😉 And subscribe for more mayhem.

And thank you to Ayun Halliday, who produced this amazing variety series, Necromancers of the Public Domain, at The Tank—and who also shot the video! Graphics edit by Sophie Simpson. Good luck, comrades.