Sent: Monday, December 09, 2002 8:32 PM
Subject: Viridian Note 00353: Holiday Cheer 2002
- Key concepts
- Invitation to Viridian New Years Party,
live music on the Viridian lawn, North Pole melting, Alan
AtKisson, SFMOMA, AMODA, the Ghost of Christmas Future
- Attention Conservation Notice:
- You can come over
here for New Years and witness our renewably-powered
This weekend, I'm at the San Francisco Museum of
Modern Art, (SFMOMA) pontificating with
hip European net.artists. It's good to be the pontiff.
On the evening of Sunday December 22nd, some
Austin Museum of Digital Art (AMODA) guys have promised
to come out and digitally jam in our front yard in
the very thick of the Christmas crowds. Failing,
you know, eerie monster hailstorms or something.
And no, AMODA don't do no Christmas carols. I'm not sure
how you categorize that music, but it's weird and
it comes out of machines.
Then the season's finale: New Years' at the Viridian
Vatican. We're throwing the doors open for 2003. There
will be some tasty surprises, plus the traditional
neighborhood New Years surveillance of the insane
light show on Austin's 37th Street. I'm not boasting, not
just yet, but this may, finally, be the year where I wipe
the floor with our 37th Street rivals.
Send email for directions. You can bring anything
you can carry and anybody you trust.
Well, there goes the Arctic. Check out that graphic
of the sea ice diminishing. It's transforming fast.
We may hit some major climate crux during the Bush
Administration. Would that surprise the powers-that-be
more than the sudden collapse of Enron? Probably not!
(((And now, a topical, seasonal piece by Alan AtKisson,
noted author and long-valued member of the Viridian
"An Occasional Column on Sustainability, Innovation, and
DEAR SANTA, I HEAR THE NORTH POLE IS MELTING
"(c) 2002 by Alan AtKisson
Permission granted to turn this into an email virus.
"This year, unlike certain previous years in my life, I
have been a relatively 'good boy.' Starting a family will
do that to a person. I'm betting that I've made your list
for a pretty good present.
"However, I'm afraid that what I really want for
Christmas this year, you can't give me: a new energy
system for planet Earth. A stabilization in our emission
of greenhouse gasses. The avoidance of global climate
"I'm betting that no amount of patient, no-complaints
baby care gets you that big a pile of chips to play in the
old Christmas Casino. You can't cash in your karma on
"But Santa, you know, global warming is a lot more
real than you are.
"You know as well as I do that Nature does what it
does, regardless of whether certain political leaders and
automobile advertisers might like to pretend to the
"In fact, you know the immutability of Nature's laws
better than I do, since you're sitting up there on a
melting sheet of ice that's thinned 40% since the 1970s.
By midcentury, Santa, you'll need a summer houseboat –
for you, the elves, and several thousand homeless polar
"And apparently, there's not a snowball's chance in
Bangladesh that we humans are going to do much about it.
Did you see the news from India, Santa, about the latest
international climate negotiations conference?
"'Experts espousing the views of industry were thrilled
with the shift in New Delhi,' said the New York Times on
November 3, 2002. The 'shift' was this: the world is
basically giving up on trying to stop or slow down global
warming. 'Industry' (not all industry – some industry
makes the 'Nice' list) was thrilled because they won't
have to invest in innovation, pay carbon taxes, reinvent
their products, convert to zero-emissions energy systems.
"All the serious talk now, said the Times, is about
adapting to the inevitable.
"Santa, I know climate change is inevitable, because it
is already happening. I try to read the science journals,
in between diaper changes: I know that hundreds if not
thousands of indicators, from the pole-ward migration of
warmer-climate species, to the increase in devastating El
Ninos, are 'consistent with the expected effects of an
increase in global temperatures.'"
"Because I've been patiently taught, I know – unlike
about two-thirds of MIT graduate students tested on this
question! – that even if we stopped emitting CO2 and
other greenhouse gasses today, global temperatures would
continue to rise for years.
"It's called 'a delay in the system.' It is going to
happen, for the same reason that summer days keep getting
hotter even when they're getting shorter (after June 21,
for you and me, who both live in the northern hemisphere).
"You know all about delays in the system, Santa.
That's why after you make your lists, you check them
twice, in case some naughtiness or niceness got reported
"But delay or not, I'm not willing to just give up, and
watch my favorite Andean glaciers or Swedish ski areas
disappear. I don't like the idea of New Orleans vanishing
under 20 feet of water when the next global-warming-
enhanced hurricane goes partying on Bourbon Street.
(People usually drink 'Hurricanes' on Bourbon Street; this
Hurricane could drink them.)
"Santa, I know it is unseemly for a grown man to come
begging and pleading to a fictitious troll in a red
polyester suit.But I'm writing to you, rather than to our
World Leader types, because the World Leaders have
essentially tossed in their monogrammed towels. You – the
great dispenser of unexpected gifts for the often barely deserving – seem to be our only hope.
"So, Santa, please give us something to replace the
burning of fossil fuels.
"You've got to give it to us quick, and it's got to be relatively cheap and easy to spread around – because
let's face it, Santa, everybody wants energy. And food
(grown with energy). And water (transported with energy).
And transport (powered by energy). But we've got, well,
bad energy right now. Energy is our major need, and our
major problem. Major change is in order.
"For instance, if we're really going to do something
about global warming, all our cars need different motors.
All our coal-fired power plants need to be converted to
some space-age hydrogen fuel cell array, or maybe some
wacky Tesla coil device, harvesting the warps and woofs of
"I don't know if you've got something like that for us
in that slick, reindeer-powered, zero-emissions sled of
yours, Santa, but you better have something. We're about
to go to war over this stuff, again – just in time for
"But I'm not giving up hope. We may be a kooky species
who, when it comes to planetary management, is still a
little slow on the uptake. But we try to be good. We
deserve to be on the 'Nice list, even if some of us are
being a little naughty with our corporate accounting
"Santa, please, give us a new energy system. Give us
climate stability. Give our great-grandchildren the gift
of a white, icicle-y, Frosty-the-Snowman Christmas.
"Or better yet – give us the guts to do it ourselves."
Visit the AtKisson,Inc. website at
We do consulting on how to change the
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TIS THE SEASON
TO BE JOLLY
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