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Friday, April 28, 2006

Thom Hartmann's political greenings

An interview with author, environmentalist and political activist Thom Hartmann

Air America radio host, phycoanalyst, rational man, and author Thom Hartmann is in town this weekend to discuss his book The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight and perhaps, spread a little environmental gospel.

We caught him between appointments and asked him about his writings, his politics and his hope for the future of our only planet.

The title of Hartmann's updated release, out this month refers to mankind's ravenous consumption of energy from coal, oil, gas, the "ancient" fossilized fuels, made of sunlight during Earth's prehistory 300-400 million years in the past. We consume these energy sources, Hartmann says, at an unprecedented rate. The fuel sources we've come to depend on for so much are finite, the author pointed out and it is not simply modern man that uses the these resources so recklessly but specifically our industrialized civilization which is largely at blame. Non-industry reliant agrarian peoples maintain make their living on current sunlight, power captured in the living wood, grass, plant and animal biomass.

As society uses the energy from this ancient sunlight we release methane, carbon dioxide and a host of associated pollutants, which poison the atmosphere, rivers lakes, land and oceans not only threatening the diversity of life both plant and animal but destroying species at an alarming rate. From the book's introduction, Hartmann makes the reality clear,

"In the 24 hours since this time yesterday, over 200,000 acres of rainforest have been destroyed...and more than 130 plant or animal species have been driven to extinction by the actions of humans.

We asked Mr. Hartmann if he thought that our modern world was over saturated with media coverage about the environment, pollution and toxic doom; if perhaps too much attention would cause a backlash in public opinion about earth warming and catastrophic Katrina like events. He replied that change always comes from the bottom up and "political environmentalism" was simply a way to mobilize a response to issues that must concern all of humanity. He went on to say that, dramatic population increases placed man face to face with so-called competing species. Evolution, which had taken billions of years to populate and diversify the planet's living biomes, would continue. Even if mankind succeeded in destroying most of Earth's species and survived, evolution would fill nature with other things that may or may not be good for us. In short, he said, "We're playing craps with the environment and evolution will sort it all out."

By Harlan Weikle
Greener Magazine

Read more:: collection of articles by Thom Hartmann and other writers,"Rants"

Related:: Mr Hartmann was invited to speak about his writings by the "Greater Largo Library Foundation kicking off its new Outstanding Author Series.

Hartmann's The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight inspired Leonardo DiCaprio's recent web video Global Warming

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