End of days

Today is “World Water Day.” Yippee. Yikes. Whatever. It would be hypocritical of me not to confess to using the occasional chronological gimmick to further pet causes (highlighting March as “Red Cross month” on this site after the Chilean earthquake is a recent example.) But, as a rule, this kind of thing confuses me. Who in their right mind thought, “Hey, we’re wrecking the world. I’ve got an idea! Let’s name a special day (week, year).”

Climate Week didn’t stop the Chinese from upending Copenhagen talks. Forty years of “Earth Day” did nothing to stop the generation that first celebrated it from popularizing the SUV. World Water Day has a hilariously well hydrated-looking Nestle executive in the news.

As we parse the mess we make, dare we conclude that special days are so last century, that while the event-ification of creeping disaster keeps a

The week that was, 12/20-26/2009

Mariele Neudecker, '400 Thousand Generations,' 2009, from "Earth: Art of a Changing World," Royal Academy at Burlington Gardens, London, through January 31, 2010. Click on the image to be taken to the gallery website.

China played an important constructive role in promoting the attained achievements at the conference and demonstrated the greatest sincerity and the greatest efforts. — State Premier Wen Jiabao interviewed by the Xinhua news agency, BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific, December 22, 2009, via Proquest

Copenhagen was a disaster. That much is agreed. But the truth about what actually happened is in danger of being lost amid the spin and inevitable mutual recriminations. The truth is this: China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful “deal” so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. How do I know this? Because I was in the room and saw it happen. — Mark Lynas,

Cool, Dry April in West, NOAA reports

May 8, 2009, Asheville, NC  — April 2009 rainfall and temperature statistics published by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. 

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