46 results for author: Dan Barth

Wausau going big on solar energy should excite those who love nature

As a homeowner myself, there was something in their desire to preserve “hearth and home” that at first struck an empathetic chord.

Let’s price carbon now and let’s do it equitably

When I first started gardening in 1974, frost took the cold sensitive plants down the very first weekend in September.

Lessons of a butterfly

Whoever watches the magic show of the chrysalis gains the gift of hope.

Earth Day dreams

On a cool, cloudy Saturday, April 24th, the Citizen's Climate Lobby of Marathon County and North central Area congregations Organized to Make an Impact (NAOMI) of Wausau were able to gather a gloriously diverse family of good folks who showed up to plant trees for Earth Day in one of our local parks.

Earth Day has its roots in Wisconsin

Wisconsin and Earth Day go back a long way together. Truth be told, without Wisconsin, Earth Day might not even exist. Dismayed by a disastrous oil spill off the coast of California in 1969, our own Senator Gaylord Nelson conceived and set in motion the gears that made Earth Day 1970 a phenomenon to be reckoned with.

A call for equity and sustainable systems

Equity, the fairness with with which we treat one another, has finally become a hot topic. Sustainability, the pursuit of an environment healthy enough to ensure a livable planet for ourselves and for our children has, thankfully, become another. Together they pack a pretty explosive punch! Ignore them and we may find ourselves flat on our backs; the soul of our humanity bruised and battered by tooth and claw competition on a shriveling planet. Around the world, including here in Wisconsin, small family farmers are being forced off their land by grocery store-scale industrial agriculture. In the last fifteen years nearly half of Wisconsin's family ...


  We have become human high-tension wires stripped of our protective insulation. We crackle and arc with fear and anger all because the illusions of stability, like the assured continuity of our majority rule democracy, in a changing world are popping around us like soap bubbles.   We blew them off the front porch when we were kids, safely tucked under the warm comforter of our childhood naivete.  We watched them trail off on the breeze hoping they would float high and away and last forever.  Like our illusions, pop they did but with soapy water we just blew more.   It is in the nature of human beings to blow out from ...


  A recent news feed brought the likelihood that summer sea ice in the Arctic will be gone in 15 years.  Almost a lifetime ago I remember reading dramatic, sometimes horrific, stories of hardy explorers trying to find the legendary Northwest Passage and the North Pole.  These were the stories of men like Franklin, Nansen, Peary and many more who wrestled with blinding snow, frigid winds and treacherous ice sometimes struggling to their achingly cold deaths.   Soon, I can almost see it now, someone will be the first to water ski the Arctic Ocean.  What will be the weather consequences?  Our children and grandchildren will know.  ...


  On May 29 over 20,000 tons of fuel oil spilled into a pristine river in Arctic Siberia. A fuel storage tank built on what had been solid permafrost collapsed when for the first time the frozen footing beneath it thawed and settled. The damage to fragile Arctic waterways has been called catastrophic. Its impact will be felt for years. Since then, the toxic flow has reached the Arctic Ocean.   Across the far north, temperatures are soaring, outdoing traditional hot spots like Miami. When was the last time temperatures here in Central Wisconsin topped 100 degrees: it did in Siberia on June 20, just one more hot day in the latest ...


  This morning, like most mornings, I will walk this plain, little country road. Typical, it carries a few cars, more pickup trucks, a tractor now and then and the occasional bike, motorized and pedaled. The road arouses little interest in the eyes of many who clearly see only a trash can to fill up with what they toss out the window or that blows out of the truck bed. Out of car, out of mind; a road not much remembered.   And yet this unremarkable road correctly walked often leaves me speechless with awe and gratitude. Great music dances out of the woods and across the fields. The rattling sandhill crane’s saxophones brazenly ...