Way, Way Ahead of the Curve in Climate Activism & Green Conversion
Andy Coined “Climate Crisis”
Andy’s main career choice as a child came out of watching Jacques Cousteau and National Geographic Society TV specials on life and pollution in the oceans. In tenth grade Andy took SCUBA diving classes and got NAUI certified. That summer he enrolled for the first time at the Institute for Inshore Marine Biology in a special summer school program to study intertidal inshore marine biology with director Barry E. Shapiro (who would also teach Andy to speed read).
Shapiro recognized Andy as the top student, awarding him an A+ for his “exceptional” 200-page final research report (this was summer school, after all!), and asking him to come back after his junior year to be the teacher’s assistant for the class. After his senior year, Andy spent five weeks at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, to which he had received a nomination from California Senator John V. Tunney (amusingly, the inspiration for the Robert Redford film The Candidate). The Summer after Andy’s freshman year at UCSD, Shapiro asked Andy to be his assistant instructor.
After going through a year-long process with a Blue and Gold Officer to get into Annapolis, it was only after Andy arrived that he was informed that Annapolis had closed its biology department because Congress had eliminated all of the pre-med programs at the service academies, and Andy would have to choose physical oceanography as his major. Andy was also then informed that there were only about ten Navy officers who actually worked as oceanographers, as that work was usually contracted out to private companies. Having never taken a class in physics, Andy thought it unwise to continue at Annapolis and submitted his resignation request.
However, Andy had not informed UCSD–which had also accepted Andy–of his planned enrollment at Annapolis so Andy was able to start classes at Fourth (now Warren) College in September. While at UCSD, Andy was able to get a job at the associated Scripps Institution of Oceanography during his winter and spring quarters. He worked with his oceanography professor in the machine shop building a large device designed to be lowered to the ocean floor to collect manganese nodules.
Andy also joined the UCSD SCUBA club, the Sea Deucers, sponsored by Scripps marine biologist Bert Kobyashi. Andy took the advanced SCUBA training offered by the club and became a Dive Master, taking night dives down to 160 feet in order to learn how to rescue other divers who go loopy from nitrogen narcosis. As a member of the club he also volunteered with lobster studies for Scripps.
In a very strange coincidence, Andy also had the same professor Al Gore praised, Roger Revelle. During the summer Andy was born Revelle began measuring atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa in Hawaii. So Andy first heard scientists express grave concerns about increasing greenhouse gasses back in 1980.
It wasn’t until 1987 that Andy started to do more about the climate crisis than just tell his friends and political colleagues about it. After running the first Green Politics (and New Age) bookstore in the country, Sound Choices, Andy began working as a research assistant for his new housemate Larry Ephron. Ephron and just a handful of other people, such as Alden Bryant’s Earth Regeneration Society, and Don Weaver began to get concerned that the increase in greenhouse gasses would ultimately trigger a new glaciation period of the Ice Age we are still in (we’re in an interglacial period).
The idea of the theory espoused by John Hamaker in the book he wrote with Don Weaver in 1982, The Survival of Civilization: Three Problems Threatening Our Existence, is that increased ocean evaporation from global warming would cause that evaporated water to come down in the polar regions as increased show. That build-up would expand glaciers outward and accelerate into an ice age glaciation period.
When Andy moved into the flat with Larry, Larry was in the midst of making a documentary about this theory and the planetary changes that could be noted already back in 1987. Stopping the Coming Ice Age also had a companion book in the works by Ephron, The End: The imminent ICE AGE & how we can stop it. Andy worked on both, even supplying some of his photographs of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These are the only nature photographs by Andy that survive today. The rest were destroyed in the Oakland Firestorm in 1991.
Because of the possibility of an ice age, “global warming” was no longer an appropriate name for the threat. So, back in 1987 Andy coined the term “climate destabilization.” If the term were finally adopted by the public, the rightwing propagandists of the Fox Fascism Network wouldn’t be able to make fun of the climate crisis every time there’s an unexpectedly large or unusual blizzard.
During the summer of 1989, while traveling as the tour videographer for John Seed and the Wallys’ Rainforest Road Show, Andy and John were exposed to the magnificent climate activism rants of Canadian scientist and TV documentarian David Suzuki who was addressing 16,000 people at the Stein Valley Festival in British Columbia. This was the real turning point for Andy; this was when he became a climate crisis organizer, first and foremost.
2009 research now covers entire ice age:
Science, June 19, 2009
Read more of Andy’s Climate Crisis Writings
Watch the David Suzuki Stein Valley speech that mobilized Andy & John Seed