You might be a TERF if…

On September 19, 2013 Well known anti-trans hate monger Elizabeth Hungerford published the following  on the Orwellian NewSpeak named “Liberation Collective” sic. Blog.

A Gender Critical Response to: A Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism

This is my response to the reactionary and misguided “A Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism” (The Statement) posted at

We can all agree, I think, that people’s actual lives are more important than theoretical abstractions– including those related to “identity.” This is precisely why, as feminists, we demand acknowledgement for the lived realities and material conditions of women’s lives, including the social mechanics of sex-and-gender-assignment that ultimately give rise to women’s oppression. But beyond this, there are a truly alarming number of misrepresentations, inconsistencies, and logical errors in The Statement. I will address many of them below.

First things first, I want to point out that characterizing gender critical feminists as “transphobic feminists” remains unsupported where “transphobia” is not defined. Repeated use of this term to demonize a certain kind of political speech or political actor is clearly intended to be insulting rather than instructive; it serves as a way to shame us and any of our potential supporters into silence. Personally, I have no intention of insulting other feminists and escalating hostility by using similar epithets to describe them or their political views.

Throughout this response I will refer to myself and others who share my general view of gender as gender critical feminists (no acronym). Because that’s what we do. We are feminists who criticize gender as a harmful social construct that distributes power unequally.

As one of the original signers of A Statement of Trans-Inclusive Feminism and Womanism I find Hungerford’s screed to be typical right wing pseudo-feminist bullshit.  Something that could just as easily come from any one of the Christo-Fascist organizations with “Concerned” or “Family” in their title.

This pseudo-feminism is simply bigotry in feminist drag.  A form of punching down similar to lumpen prole racism directed at an even more oppressed group.

Through out Hungerford’s piece she repeatedly resorts to group guilt type smears typically found in racist and anti-Semitic literature.  Lies and distortions or the use of individual events to assign group guilt.  This has in the past been described as “Blood Libel” and is typical of the hate speech directed at TS/TG people by Hungerford and others.

You might be a TERF if…

From Trans-Advocate:

By Cristan Williams
September 24, 2013

Reposted with permission

I’ve noticed that there seems to be some confusion about what a TERF* is so, here’s a quick guide to help you figure out if you’re a TERF. Chances are that you’re a TERF if you believe that you’re a feminist when you…

1.) Claim that transwomen are cismen, that transmen are ciswomen and purposefully misgender transpeople.

2.) Out transpeople to employers.

3.) Tell trans women their surgery is about supporting rape culture.

4.) Assert that lesbian-identified transwomen can’t be lesbian.

5.) Claim that a world without trans people is preferable.1

6.) Find that your anti-trans arguments and the anti-trans arguments of far rightwing groups match.2

7.) Assert cisprivilege isn’t real; that non-trans people aren’t privileged in a society that’s hostile to trans people.

8.) Claim that gender isn’t real, but the MAAB/FAAB binary is.

9.) Claim that trans surgeries were pioneered by men in service of the patriarchy.3

10.) Lie about rape and death threats you’ve received from trans people.

11.) Fearmonger about the rape/violence threat transwomen pose to ciswomen in the womens restroom.

12.) Assert that trans people transition to satisfy their sexual urges.

13.) Degrade and dehumanize the genitals of trans people.

14.) Work to overturn trans equality protections.

15.) Work to halt access to trans medical care.

16.) Appeal to the Klan Fallacy.

17.) Compare transition to a disgusting Frankenstein-like process.

18.) Claim that trans people transition due to political or social pressures.4

19.) Claim that when you work to halt the propagation of anti-feminist stereotypes it’s empowerment, but when trans people work to halt the propagation of anti-trans stereotypes it’s censorship .

20.) Assert that trans women transition because they’re actually gay men and that transmen transition because they’re lesbians wanting to escape the patriarchy.


Self-identified RadFem TERF meets a ideological peer.

Progressives have noticed the similarity for some time: Self-identified RadFem TERF meets an ideological peer.

* Over the past year or so, much of the trans community has stopped referring to TERFs as RadFems. We’ve done this because there’s a number of radical feminists/2nd wave feminists/lesbian feminists who find the above demonstrated behavior abhorrent to feminism. Out of respect for actual RadFems, the trans community has stopped supporting the appropriation of the radical feminist identity by what is essentially a hate group. Thus, we instead use Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs).


1.) They expect we’ll be shocked to see statistics about them being killed, and don’t realize, some of us wish they would ALL be dead.

– BevJo, TERF opinion leader, author and speaker

While there are many who feel that morality must be built into law, I believe that the elimination of transsexualism is not best achieved by legislation prohibiting transsexual treatment and surgery but rather by legislation that limits it and by other legislation that lessens the support given to sex-role stereotyping, which generated the problem to begin with. Any legislation should be aimed at the social conditions that initiate and promote the surgery as well as the growth of the medical-institutional complex that translates these stereotypes into flesh and blood.

– Janice Raymond (1980), Technology on the Social and Ethical Aspects of Transsexual Surgery, TERF opinion leader, author and speaker

2.)  Now one of the things I find puzzling about it is that, when I look at the House of Lords debate on this legislation, those I agree with most are the radical right. Particularly the person I find that I agree with most, in here, and I’m not sure he will be pleased to find this, is Norman Tebbitt… Tebbitt also says that the savage mutilation of transgenderism, we would say if it was taking place in other cultures apart from the culture of Britain, was a harmful cultural practice, and how come we’re not recognising that in the British Isles. So he makes all of these arguments from the radical right, which is quite embarrassing to me, but I have to say, so called progressive and left people are not recognising the human rights violations of transgenderism or how crazy the legislation is

– Sheila Jeffreys

3.)  [Transsexual surgery] could be likened to political psychiatry in the Soviet Union. I suggest that transsexualism should best be seen in this light, as directly political, medical abuse of human rights. The mutilation of healthy bodies and the subjection of such bodies to dangerous and life-threatening continuing treatment violates such people’s rights to live with dignity in the body into which they were born, what Janice Raymond refers to as their “native” bodies. It represents an attack on the body to rectify a political condition, “gender” dissatisfaction in a male supremacist society based upon a false and politically constructed notion of gender difference… Recent literature on transsexualism in the lesbian community draws connections with the practices of sadomasochism. 

– Sheila Jeffreys, TERF opinion leader, author and speaker

It should be noted that Jeffreys’ own community – Australian lesbians – pioneered both FTM and FTM transsexul surgery in Australia

4.)  My main conclusion is that transsexualism is basically a social problem whose cause cannot be explained except in relation to the sex role and identities that a patriarchal society generates. Through hormonal and surgical means, transsexuals reject their “native” bodies, especially their sexual organs, in favor of the body and the sexual organs of the opposite sex. They do this mainly because the body and the genitalia, especially, come to incarnate the essence of their rejected masculinity and desired femininity. Thus transsexualism is the result of socially prescribed definitions of masculinity and femininity, one of which the transsexual rejects in order to gravitate towards the other.

Thus I will argue, in Chapter III, that the First Cause of transsexualism is a gender-defined society whose norms of masculinity and femininity generate the desire to be transsexed…. I believe that the primary cause of transsexualism cannot be derived from intrapsyic attitudes and/or behaviors, or even from family conditioning processes. One must begin with the roles of a gender-defined society, as the First Cause of transsexualism (that which, in the Aristotelian sense, sets all other causes in motion.)

– Janice Raymond (1979), The Transsexual Empire, page 16

A significant number of transmen are lesbians who report that they want to transition in an attempt to escape misogyny – their own internalized version as much as society’s. A significant percentage of transwomen are homosexual males, pressured into transitioning by conservative society that hates gender non-conforming gay men.

There is no T in Lesbian

Lesbian feminists have noticed TERF behavior for a while now.

Lesbian feminists have noticed TERF behavior for a while now.

Lesbian Feminist DTWOF author: Noticing the logical inconsistencies of TERF trans bathroom meme since 1995.

Lesbian Feminist DTWOF author: Noticing trans lesbians as part of radical feminism while scoffing at the trans bathroom meme since 1995.

Cross-posted from Ehipassiko

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New Jersey Paper Refuses to Correct Coverage of Trans Woman’s Murder

From The Advocate:

GLAAD said it contacted the New Jersey Star-Ledger‘s reporter about her incorrect pronoun usage, but the writer refused to correct the story.

BY Sunnivie Brydum
September 28 2013

UPDATE: GLAAD reports that the New Jersey Star-Ledger has published a new story, using female pronouns and Eyricka Morgan’s preferred name to discuss her murder. But the paper has not corrected its earlier reporting on the case, and those stories are still accessible on the paper’s website.

When New Jersey’s Star-Ledger newspaper reported on the stabbing death of 26-year-old Eyricka Morgan, a transgender woman of color reportedly killed in her New Brunswick home by a neighbor on Tuesday, the newspaper referred to Morgan by her given name and used male pronouns to refer to her. The Star-Ledger‘s initial report made no mention of the fact that Morgan was transgender and had been living as a woman, despite confirmation of Morgan’s transgender identity by numerous LGBT sites, including The Advocate.

LGBT media watchdog agency GLAAD reached out to the Ledger‘s writer who first reported the crime, Susan Epstein, and informed her of the industry’s standard fair and accurate guidelines for reporting on transgender people, including using their preferred name and gender identity, according to a blog post from GLAAD. Since 2001, the Associated Press has directed journalists to report on the lives — and death — of transgender people by using the appropriate pronouns and names preferred by the individual.

“The reporter refused to change the story without confirmation of Eyricka’s transgender identity from someone who knew her,” reads GLAAD’s blog, posted Friday. “GLAAD provided this information, but the newspaper has not corrected its coverage. Editors at the paper have not yet replied to repeated outreach by GLAAD.”

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The real boy crisis: 5 ways America tells boys not to be “girly”

From Salon:

Mocking boys for doing “feminine” things leaves them ill-equipped for life, and makes America a worse place for all

Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013

The ability to feel what others feel has many well-documented benefits, including, for empathetic people, greater psychological and physical health. The real and socially significant positive impact of empathy, however, is the ways in which it affects behavior toward others. People who are empathetic are less aggressive and prone to denigrate others; they are predisposed to act with care and compassion; they have increased egalitarian beliefs and act with less prejudice and stereotype-based hatred. Empathetic behaviors, however, are associated with being female. And weak.

The stereotypes that plague our lives teach that the characteristics of empathetic understanding are feminine: listening, sensitivity, quiet consideration and gentleness.  Empathy is feminized and boys learn quickly that what is feminized is, in a man, the source of disgust. While parents, teachers, coaches, grandparents and others whose ideas shape children aren’t sitting around telling boys, “Don’t be empathetic!” they are saying, in daily micro-aggressive ways, “Don’t be like girls!”  The process of “becoming a man” still often means rejecting almost any activity or preference that smacks of cross-gender expression or sympathy.

Expression and empathy are closely related for children. When boys are taught that they can’t “be like girls” it has the threefold effect. First, it alienates them from core aspects of themselves. Second, it portrays what is feminine as undesirable and inferior. Third, it forces boys into a “man box” from which emotions and empathy are excluded.  An upcoming documentary, “The Mask You Live In,” carefully examines, from the perspective of boys and men, what this feels like and means in their lives.

While more and more parents are openly grappling with how to handle “non-conventional” gender behavior in children, many others won’t even consider the behavior as remotely acceptable.  The policing of boys’ gender expression doesn’t require parents who yell, “Stop crying, you sound like a girl!” or homophobic classmates hurling some variation of “Don’t be so gay!” (which is, sadly, still a serious problem). A whole range or rules, traditions, daily interactions and media content come together to narrow boys’ options and, ultimately, abilities. Consider these five everyday ways that boys are taught first not to look like girls, not to be like girls, not to do “girly” things, and then, ultimately, to lose the ability to feel compassion.

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‘You’re Too Pretty to Be Gay’ Is Not a Compliment

From Huffington Post:


In her HuffPost blog post “The Assumption of Heterosexuality When You’re a Feminine Lesbian,” femme blogger Megan Evans mentions that gay men often tell her that she is “too pretty to be gay.” Megan’s experience resonates with me because some people find it necessary to “educate” me about how, in their expert opinion, my sexual orientation is not congruent with my physical appearance. I have also been told that I’m “too pretty to be a lesbian” and other versions of that assertion, such as, “But you’re pretty; you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a boyfriend,” or, “You don’t look gay.” Most people who spew such nonsense expect me to delight in their backhanded praise and are surprised when I inform them that telling someone that she is too pretty to be a lesbian is actually not a compliment. Believing that there is a point on some arbitrary scale at which a woman is too attractive to be gay is based on the assumption that heterosexual women are inherently better-looking, and that’s just plain homophobic.

To be clear, I am not writing this piece to toot my own horn. This is not one of those tortured-pretty-girl, Samantha Brick-type posts. I do not think that some peoples’ beliefs that I am too pretty to be gay are based on how “beautiful” I am according to some superficial measure of what is deemed aesthetically pleasing by the dominant culture. In fact, as a biracial woman, society is constantly bombarding me with messages that my hair, lips, and thighs are not as desirable as Pam Anderson types with lighter skin; straight, blonde hair; and an unattainable figure. Rather, I believe that people are often confused by my femininity, because the prevailing stereotype is that lesbians are simply not feminine. Just think back to last year, when Florida’s former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll stated, in response to claims that she was involved in a lesbian affair, “Black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.” The lack of femme visibility, as Evans documents in her blog post, as well as homophobia, misogyny, gender norms, and heteronormativity contribute to this stereotype. When feminine lesbians challenge existing stereotypes that all lesbians are masculine, it short-circuits peoples’ brains.

But let’s look at one of the roots of this stereotype a bit more. In 2008 CoverGirl cosmetics signed Ellen DeGeneres as one of their spokesmodels. While CoverGirl considers DeGeneres to be attractive enough to represent their brand and join the ranks of other famous CoverGirls like Sofia Vergara, Rihanna, and Christie Brinkley, people often say that DeGeneres “looks gay,” and that her more feminine wife, Portia de Rossi, is “too pretty to be a lesbian.” So why is it that some people believe that DeGeneres looks like a lesbian, but her wife does not fit the mold? Why would some people think that DeGeneres is “attractive enough” to be a CoverGirl but still consider her beauty substandard enough to clearly mark her as gay?

I would argue that the answer is found in Ellen’s short hair and masculine-inspired wardrobe. Society frowns upon female masculinity. If lesbians are believed to be more masculine than their heterosexual counterparts, and society views female masculinity as unattractive, then people might conclude that heterosexual women are better-looking.

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Texas sheriffs to use war zone vehicle ‘MRAP’ on civilians

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NSA built secret shadow social network GETPRISM — and you’ve already joined it

From Raw Story:

By Techdirt
Monday, September 30, 2013

Soon after the very earliest reporting on Ed Snowden’s leaked documents about PRISM, the folks from Datacoup put together the very amusing GETPRSM website, which looks very much like the announcement of a new social network, but (the joke is) it’s really the NSA scooping up all our data and making the connections. It’s pretty funny. Except, of course, when you find out that it’s real. And, yes, that seems to be the latest revelation out of Ed Snowden’s leaks. The NY Times has an article by James Risen and Laura Poitras (what a combo reporting team there!) detailing how the NSA has basically built its own “shadow” social network in which it tries to create a “social graph” of pretty much everyone that everyone knows, foreign or American, and it all happens (of course) without a warrant. And, note, this is relatively new:

The agency was authorized to conduct “large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness” of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners. The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners.

There were apparently two policy changes that allowed this to happen, and both occurred in the past three years. First, in November of 2010, the NSA was allowed to start looking at phone call and email logs of Americans to try to help figure out associations for “foreign intelligence purposes.” Note that phrase. We’ll come back to it. For years, the NSA had been barred from viewing any content on US persons, and the NSA, President Obama and others have continued to insist to this day that there are minimization procedures that prevent spying on Americans. Except, this latest revelation shows that, yet again, this isn’t actually true.

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The NSA Deserves a Permanent Shutdown

From Common Dreams:

by Norman Solomon

To the people in control of the Executive Branch, violating our civil liberties is an essential government service. So — to ensure total fulfillment of Big Brother’s vast responsibilities — the National Security Agency is insulated from any fiscal disruption.


The NSA’s surveillance programs are exempt from a government shutdown. With typical understatement, an unnamed official told The Hill that “a shutdown would be unlikely to affect core NSA operations.”


At the top of the federal government, even a brief shutdown of “core NSA operations” is unthinkable. But at the grassroots, a permanent shutdown of the NSA should be more than thinkable; we should strive to make it achievable.


NSA documents, revealed by intrepid whistleblower Edward Snowden, make clear what’s at stake. In a word: democracy.


Wielded under the authority of the president, the NSA is the main surveillance tool of the U.S. government. For a dozen years, it has functioned to wreck our civil liberties. It’s a tool that should not exist.


In this century, the institutional momentum of the NSA — now fueled by a $10.8 billion annual budget — has been moving so fast in such a wrong direction that the agency seems unsalvageable from the standpoint of civil liberties. Its core is lethal to democracy.


A big step toward shutting down the National Security Agency would be to mobilize political pressure for closure of the new NSA complex that has been under construction in Bluffdale, Utah: a gargantuan repository for ostensibly private communications.


During a PBS “NewsHour” interview that aired on August 1, NSA whistleblower William Binney pointed out that the Bluffdale facility has a “massive amount of storage that could store all these recordings and all the data being passed along the fiberoptic networks of the world.” He added: “I mean, you could store 100 years of the world’s communications here. That’s for content storage. That’s not for metadata.”

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N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens

From The New York Times

Published: September 28, 2013

WASHINGTON — Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.

The spy agency began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine Americans’ networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after N.S.A. officials lifted restrictions on the practice, according to documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor.

The policy shift was intended to help the agency “discover and track” connections between intelligence targets overseas and people in the United States, according to an N.S.A. memorandum from January 2011. The agency was authorized to conduct “large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness” of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners.

The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners.

N.S.A. officials declined to say how many Americans have been caught up in the effort, including people involved in no wrongdoing. The documents do not describe what has resulted from the scrutiny, which links phone numbers and e-mails in a “contact chain” tied directly or indirectly to a person or organization overseas that is of foreign intelligence interest.

The new disclosures add to the growing body of knowledge in recent months about the N.S.A.’s access to and use of private information concerning Americans, prompting lawmakers in Washington to call for reining in the agency and President Obama to order an examination of its surveillance policies. Almost everything about the agency’s operations is hidden, and the decision to revise the limits concerning Americans was made in secret, without review by the nation’s intelligence court or any public debate. As far back as 2006, a Justice Department memo warned of the potential for the “misuse” of such information without adequate safeguards.

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How EPA Head Gina McCarthy Uncovered A Million-Dollar Fraudster

From Think Progress:

By Jeff Spross
on September 30, 2013

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy was instrumental in catching an agency employee who defrauded the government of roughly $900,000, E&E News reports.


John Beale, a longtime official at the EPA, reportedly failed to show up for work for several long stretches, and falsely claimed he was either doing research or engaged in top-secret work for the CIA. As a result, he continued drawing pay and benefits during his absences. Beale had worked at the EPA since the 1980s, and eventually ascended all the way to senior policy advisor in the Office of Air and Radiation. The fraud reportedly began in 2000, and extended across both Democratic and Republican administrations. Beale even continued collecting a paycheck after supposedly retiring in 2011.


According to a source that spoke with E&E News, McCarthy uncovered Beale’s fraud earlier this year while she was still head of the Air and Radiation office. After spotting discrepancies on time sheets and internal reports, McCarthy brought the matter to authorities and eventually pushed Beale to resign this past Spring.


Beale has already paid the EPA back the $886,186 he stole. Under his plea agreement, he’s also agreed to forfeit an additional $507,000, to pay fines of as much as $60,000, and will face up to 37 months in prison. The maximum sentence for theft of government property is 10 years, and a hearing in the case will be held October 9.


Republicans, long critical of the EPA and its mission, did not hesitate to latch onto the issue. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on October 1, luridly titled “Secret Agent Man? Oversight of the EPA’s Investigation of John Beale.” And Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works panel, called the swindle — which amounts to roughly 0.01 percent of the EPA’s 2013 budget — a “massive fraud case.”

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The Sleeping Giant – Arctic Ice Melt

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“The Other Keystone”: Seattle Gears Up for Direct Action Against Coal Export Plan

From Yes Magazine:

A showdown over fossil fuel projects that would exacerbate climate change is brewing in the Emerald City.

Sep 27, 2013

Myrtle Edwards Park in Seattle is an ideal place for a symbolic action about the danger of climate change: on one side is the silvery water of Puget Sound; on the other is the rail line slated to carry millions of tons of coal bound for export to Asia.

On September 21, residents concerned about climate change exploited that geography in the Seattle version of a national day of action billed as “Draw the Line.” The national event was organized by, an environmental group focused on climate change. According to the group’s website, more than 200 actions took place in 49 states. The event was intended to show President Barack Obama that communities are committed to defending the climate and to stopping the development of the Keystone XL pipeline. The president’s decision on the pipeline is still pending.

In a move intended to demonstrate their commitment visually, participants in the Seattle event formed a human chain between the water and the rails. The event also included workshops and speakers, among them author Bill McKibben, the founder of and a well-known climate change activist.

The rally’s participants seemed ready for more confrontational approaches in the future. After the speakers, in a call-and-response with organizer Adam Gaya, the crowd waved red scarves and cheered in agreement when he asked if they were ready for civil disobedience against the Keystone XL pipeline and other fossil fuel projects. The rally’s workshop on nonviolent direct action drew a sizeable and diverse crowd.

The rally demonstrated a growing commitment to direct action in Seattle. One example is residents’ participation in the “Pledge of Resistance to Keystone XL” organized by progressive mobile company CREDO. More than 75,000 people across the country have signed the online pledge, committing themselves to civil disobedience against Keystone XL if the pipeline is approved. Of those signatures, about 1,500 belong to Seattle residents. Organizers for the pledge were at the rally, signing people up for direct action trainings taking place every weekend for the next month.

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One meteorologist explains why he won’t fly again

From Salon:

After breaking down in tears over the new climate report, Eric Holthaus live-tweeted his final flight

Monday, Sep 30, 2013

Last Friday, meteorologist Eric Holthaus posted an article to Quartz explaining the newly released IPCC climate report. The gist of the article, as encapsulated by its headline (“The world’s best scientists agree: On our current path, global warming is irreversible—and getting worse”) was far from optimistic. But then Holthaus, who until recently covered weather for the Wall Street Journal, did something surprising. He turned to Twitter to declare that, on the heels of the report, he was going to take drastic action to reduce his own carbon footprint:

Speaking over the phone with Salon from his home in Viroqua, Wis., where he’s grounded himself, Holthaus described the emotional moment at San Francisco International Airport when he realized that his current lifestyle was no longer sustainable — or conscionable.

What changed, Holthaus said, was the report’s acknowledgment that high-tech geoengineering solutions weren’t going to have an impact on climate change. Two things he had seen as potential answers to the climate problem — either launching a massive solar shade into orbit to block 5 percent of the sun’s rays, or installing fake plastic trees to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere — were both dismissed out of hand. All 195 countries that approved the report agree with scientists that the time and scope needed for such measures wasn’t feasible. On the phone with his wife, Holthaus despaired: “That was our chance, and it’s gone.”

What the IPCC report did find could be effective, said Holthaus, are drastic and immediate cuts to CO2 emissions. On first glance, Holthaus was already doing a lot. He recycles and doesn’t own a car. He’s also a vegetarian. But despite doing “pretty much [what] everyone’s always told me to do,” when he plugged his lifestyle into a carbon footprint calculator, he found that his CO2 emissions were still double that of the average American. Doing almost everything else “right” wasn’t enough to make up for the approximately 75,000 miles he flies annually.

“As an average person that follows this issue and write about it a lot for his job,” explained Holthaus, ”if I don’t do something that the IPCC recommends, why would anyone else?” Using University of California, Berkeley’s, carbon calculator, he estimates that he’ll be responsible for 33.5 fewer tons of CO2 emissions per year.

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