Hello, world!

Photo Illustration/NASA
A view of the earth, at a distance of about 18,000 miles, as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon, December 7, 1972.

"Methinks my own soul must be a bright invisible green."
– “ Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849)

I chose to call this blog "Bright Green" because the word "bright" sums up for me the kind of journalism the Monitor does best. At my desk here in Boston, I'm surrounded by people who are working hard every day to illuminate dark corners of the world, to bring intelligence and clarity to the issues of the day, and to convey a sense that, despite a daily barrage of dispiriting news, humankind is not necessarily doomed.

Not that I'll always live up to the bright standards set by my colleagues. With multiple daily posts, I'm bound to come off as a bit dim now and then. When I do, I hope you'll enlighten me in the comments section.

As for the "green" part of the blog title, it's clear that our civilization is due for a major upgrade. The human population is on track to surpass nine billion by 2050; most of that growth will happen in the developing world. To continue on our present course is to consign almost all of these nine billion people to a bleak future, one where the air and water is toxic, the food is scarce, the weather is erratic, and prosperity and security are distant dreams.

So we need to build an alternative future. One where the food is safe and healthy, where your goods don't require poison warning labels, where you don't need to wage war over energy resources, and where the main product of your daily activities is wealth, not waste.

How we get to that future, the breakthroughs and setbacks, the trends and ideas, that's what this blog will be about.

My biggest hope is that this will be a conversation, not a lecture. A place where we can hang out together and share news, ideas, and stories. I am by no means an expert on any environmental issue (quite the opposite: I majored in philosophy in college and later got a Master's in journalism), and I am well aware that my own experiences may be completely unlike yours. I have a lot of blind spots, and I hope you'll help me fill them in.

My only other hope is to make you laugh from time to time. If it's one thing that environmental discussions sorely need, it's a sense of humor.

So welcome to Bright Green. This is going to be fun.

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