Scientists, activists and policymakers give their assessments and outlooks on our planet.

Political candidates can’t develop a platform without it. Hardly a celebrity compiles a resume of charitable activities that lacks it. No self-respecting futurist can conceive of a world untouched by it. And it would be a shame if you, dear reader, needed us to tell you what we mean by “it”. In case you do, “it” is the environment.

Face it—global warming is a reality, and our reckless consumption of everything from oil to styrofoam hath wrought it. Seeing as no one can deny it (at least in our humble opinion) we thought we’d talk about it with anyone we could stop in a hallway or get on the phone. What follows is a series of short interviews with reactionaries, researchers and even Republicans where the same question is put to everyone: What are we going to do about this mess we’ve made?

Here’s who we coralled:

Michael E. Mann

The Penn State Earth scientist says we may have already hit “tipping points” that indicate climate change is significantly underway. Even if we make our best efforts towards rejuvenating our tortured planet, we cannot wholly avoid global warming’s effects.

Andrew Revkin

The respected New York Times science reporter has been covering global warming for nearly 20 years. Now, he’s putting out a book on it, skipping adult readers to focus on informing kids of the new world they’ll inhabit.

Neal Lane

Lane, former science adviser of Bill Clinton, thinks the world is finally beginning to realize that climate change is a problem. With the growing population and needs of the Earth’s inhabitants, he believes that all energy sources need to be harnessed to their full potential.

Denis Hayes

After helping to found the first Earth Day, Hayes has been a tireless advocate for the environment. He’s worried that the Bush administration is moving in the “wrong direction” with regard to its work on climate change, and he’s currently calling for transitions to solutions being dreamt up by the science community.

Christine Todd Whitman

Whitman, a moderate conservative, served as head of the EPA during George. W. Bush’s first term in office. She believes the American public doesn’t know what to think regarding environmental issues due to mixed messages coming from the left and right.

Laurie David

David has suddenly become the celebrity environmentalist du jour. Between projects, such as bringing Al Gore’s slideshow on global warming to the big screen, she’s also helped to organize an online march to force politicians to recognize climate change as the dire problem it is. As Earth Day approached, she made time to talk with nearly every media outlet in the country about global warming, including dropping by the Seed Salon


Check back over the next week as we add more conversations about the state of the planet.

Originally published April 17, 2006


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