Going through a footlocker of old newspaper clips, I found this Science Briefs package that I wrote in the April 9, 1989, edition of the Nashua Telegraph, when I was an editor for the Sunday paper and its Sci/Tech section. This 34-year-old piece might be the first time I wrote “climate change” in a news article, although probably not the first time I had edited an article with the phrase.

The alarming predictions from the New Scientists article I was quoting – “crops will wither, rivers will run dry” and melting ice caps will threaten coastal cities and drown islands – drew a lot of scoffing at the time but seem prosaic now. After all, they’re actually happening: The Pacific nation of Tuvalu is struggling right now with the very problem that the article mentions.

If only we had listened to ourselves back then.

You’ll notice that I still had to hedge things, writing “If scientists are correct …” It was a few years before I told bosses that there wasn’t any question about climate change and I wasn’t going to pretend there was.

Also notice the second article, from AP, about “tilt-rotor” aircraft then being developed. The resulting V-22 Osprey has been around for decades now but it has a checkered safety record and drones are making it irrelevant.

Incidentally, the science-briefs package was the predecessor to my weekly column, still going strong in its 32nd year, which was the predecessor of this blog/newsletter. In fact, you could consider the Granite Geek blog as a “science briefs” package in the Internet era. I guess my job hasn’t changed as much as I think it has.

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