With David Roberts' announcement that he is taking a year off -- and dropping out of the online world altogether -- we are losing, for now, an illuminating and original public voice on the climate change problem. Many of us who know his work will miss him and wish him all the best, and will welcome his return in 2014.
As of Labor Day weekend, I am going underground. I won’t be writing for Grist (or anyone else); I won’t be reading or responding to email; I won’t be on Twitter; I won’t be following the news cycle or reading PDFs; I won’t be spending all day every day attached to a computer. I won’t be answering the phone, either, but then I never answered the phone anyway.
He followed this with personal backstory, told in the engaging voice that exemplifies the conversational style with which he has been communicating all along on an endless array of topics. Much of that work has dealt with complex and controversial issues related to climate change and energy policy, unpacking and discussing them without getting trapped in scientific or academic jargon, narrow argumentative advocacy, or useless no-point-of-view 'neutrality'. Many scientists, academics, journalists, political advocates, and bloggers can learn from looking at what he has been doing. He offered a nice discussion of it recently in How to write about climate: Pull up a barstool.
Surely Grist will leave his posts online right where they reside today. They're not just of the moment, and still should be discovered by new readers (and occasionally revisited by the old ones). Just in the past couple of weeks he has posted a number of pieces on matters that have long been of concern to Climate Science Watch. If you're interested in climate change communication, the global warming denial problem, how the climate controversy has been swept up into the larger culture wars and division over the role of government and the future of the country, and what we might have to look forward to as we continue to slog along while Dave is away, read these:
The futility of “just the facts” climate science (August 14)
Hopefully, when he returns to the fray -- who knows how he will interpret that role after getting away from the madness for a whole year? -- we'll have taken at least a few small steps forward in confronting the challenge. I think it's safe to say it's not going to go away while his attention is directed elsewhere. Have a great year, David.