NYT journalist shares views on ‘invisible ax’ with NCKU students

Tainan, Taiwan, Dec. 3, 2012

“We're living in the world now that is so linked, where we don’t often know the relationship between the reactions that we have, particularly in industrialized countries or industrializing countries, and the impacts that our choices have somewhere else,” said a senior journalist of the New York Times on Nov. 30.

Andrew C. Revkin, who is also Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding at Pace University, made his remarks as he tried to paraphrase “the invisible ax” to the students at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), southern Taiwan.

Revkin was invited by NCKU to deliver a speech on “An Invisible Ax – Transnational Cooperation’s Slashing at Amazonia” to reveal the numerous invisible linkages of consequences of human acts and help young people to decode the messages behind the environmental problems of our time.

Revkin described himself as a man who has been on a journey trying to understand the relationship between planet Earth and humanity for more than 30 years as a journalist.

He suggested that his audience employ the power of the community to enforce transparency in all sorts of institutions to make the world a better place.

By 2050 or so, human population is expected to reach 9 billion and those billions will be seeking food, water and other resources on a planet where humans are already shaping climate and the web of life, according to Revkin.

Concerning the overpopulation in the future, Revkin noted that there were 1 billion humans on earth in 1800 but in 2012, more than 1 billion teenagers are sharing the resources of the planet, and “the fate of the 1 billion teenagers are determined by education and technology.”

One of the students asked that how teenagers can deal with the environmental issues. Revkin responded, “Make sure you understand the root of the question and get to the core if you see the issues with a more extended spectrum.”

Revkin advised the young people, “Think globally a few hours a week, reflecting on what you're doing, and oversee things in a greater scale.”

“It's been an amazing journey traveling around the world, and you all should get to the weird places when you're young like 20ish,” added Revkin.

Andrew C. Revkin has written on a wide range of subjects including the destruction of the Amazon rain forest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, science and politics, climate change, and the North Pole.

A reporter for the New York Times from 1995-2009, Revkin currently writes the "Dot Earth" environmental blog for The Times' Op-Ed section.

He is also senior fellow at the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies at Pace University, as well as a songwriter and musician.
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