Gravity's Rainbow

botany, shoes, books, and justice

Well, that’s depressing


I attended a conference on water issues a few weeks ago and left feeling like there’s no way to implement successful policies before it’s too late.

My research focuses on a tree that is quickly being extirpated from my state and is likely to go almost extinct in the next century or so, and lately I’ve been wondering why I’m devoting so much time to something that there’s so little chance of saving.

I’m writing a review paper on predictions of climate envelope models and am coming to the conclusion that they are much, much too conservative.

And almost no one is willing to take the steps that need to be taken to deal with climate change.  I can’t even complain to my friends – they think it’s all just “doomsday talk.”  So, today, instead of doing more (incredibly depressing) reading for my paper, I reread this poem a few times.


Robinson Jeffers

These grand and fatal movements toward death: the grandeur of the mass
Makes pity a fool, the tearing pity
For the atoms of the mass, the persons, the victims, makes it seem monstrous
To admire the tragic beauty they build.
It is beautiful as a river flowing or a slowly gathering
Glacier on a high mountain rock-face,
Bound to plow down a forest, or as frost in November,
The gold and flaming death-dance for leaves,
Or a girl in the night of her spent maidenhood, bleeding and kissing.
I would burn my right hand in a slow fire
To change the future … I should do foolishly. The beauty of modern
Man is not in the persons but in the
Disastrous rhythm, the heavy and mobile masses, the dance of the
Dream-led masses down the dark mountain.

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  1. I think it’s just too late. I’ve given up worrying about it, other than to make fun of people who don’t think climate change is real — but I do that because I enjoy it, not because it’ll produce any results.

    On the other hand, I do want to read this: When Everything Changed, by Gail Collins.

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