Erika Schelby

Alexander von Humboldt was the first person to understand climate change — more than 200 years ago

Alexander von Humboldt was born on September 14, 1769. In his day, he was a globetrotting, convention-defying hero— one of the first recorded individuals to raise environmental concerns. To make him hip for a new generation, all it takes is a rediscovery of Humboldt by the young climate strikers across the globe. Their numbers are growing, their task is huge, and they are now urging adults to join them. Why let parents fiddle when the house burns? On May 22, grown-ups at the Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, and The Guardian listened and launched Covering Climate Now, a project to encourage more coverage of climate change in the media. Bill Moyers, the keynote speaker, pointed out that from 2017 to 2018, major network coverage of climate issues fell 45 percent to a total of a mere 142 minutes. And on May 23, with her knack of being spot-on, 16-year-old climate activist and rising star Greta Thunberg promptly wrote of taking on the climate change challenge: “It’s humanity’s job.”

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Demonizing Immigrants Is Nothing New - And the Hateful Rhetoric Always Serves the Same Corrupt Purposes

“The howl of the cave man.” This is how a 1918 Los Angeles Times article described the music of Brahms and Bach. A year earlier the U.S. had declared war against Germany and waded into the tragedy of the First World War. The propaganda machine was in full swing. Germans were brutes—close cousins of the barbaric Huns—and detesting all things German became a badge of patriotic pride. The time was also ripe for the contributions of German-Americans to be scrubbed from the history books. Figures like Alexander von Humboldt, Carl Blümner, and Heinrich Balduin Möllhausen, whose contributions to the U.S. are vast, were eclipsed by caricatures of the brutish German lusting for American blood. German-Americans learned to keep a low profile and the collective demonization induced a historical amnesia from which we have yet to awaken.

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