Dan Grossman on The Campbell Conversations

Oct 12, 2011

Dan Grossman is a freelance environmental journalist who has frequently appeared on public radio and the BBC, and has written for the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Scientific American. He’s won a host of prestigious awards and been funded by many highly respected organizations—among them the Peabody award, the National Science Foundation, and the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

In our conversation he puzzles over the enduring controversy surrounding global warming, despite the clear scientific consensus on it, and he describes some of the problems that scientists have in communicating their findings to the public. Along the way he describes some of the more interesting people he’s encountered in his adventures—I found the story about using sawdust to try to save glacier ice particularly interesting.

What I was most struck by, however, was Dan’s forcefulness in putting on the table the extent of change—and even sacrifice—that, according to him, really addressing global warming will require. He notes that even among his friends and colleagues, who are tuned in to global warming as a problem, there is a false sense of consciousness about it will take to change it. This is a politically tough position to take, and you do not hear it frequently expressed by candidates. So his puzzling left me puzzling—over how to introduce those difficult conversations into meaningful political discussions. I don’t have a ready answer for that.