Rick Piltz

10407255_10152325153175974_5553530182214429328_n.jpgRICK PILTZ passed suddenly in Washington this morning, but Rick lives on in the fight of the climate movement. Once the science officer in the Bush White House, the reluctant hero blew the whistle on a practice of lying about climate science at the highest levels. Rick was the one who found that science reports about global warming were edited by an employee of the petroleum industry, adding phrases like "warrants further study" when the original summary would say "warrants urgent response." Thus the American people were kept in the dark about the seriousness of the Earth's crisis by Big Oil's infiltration of government.

After communicating the redactions to the New York Times's Andrew Revkin, the story appeared on page 1, June 8, 2005. Rick quit before he was fired, and had the foresight to protect himself through contact with Government Accountability Office. Thereafter he concentrated his efforts at the organization Climate Science Watch. Through the darkest days of domination of the debate by Fox commentators and the media practice of promoting climate science deniers to achieve a fair balance of views, Rick Piltz was the Earth's talking head. Time and time again he appeared opposite those in the pay of the same fossil fuel front groups that he had originally exposed.

He did this for years and years, waiting for the rest of us to catch up. And if some of us have mixed feelings about the Peoples Climate March, I am glad that Rick Piltz, the always-ready journey-man waiting in the wings to testify for the Earth, witnessed the outpouring of humanity that marched that day to demand action from the governments that were so intractable during his service. Maybe they still are, but Rick's life gives us a fighting chance. Now the Earth has called him back. Oh Rick, when I'm back at Blue Mountain at the lake, listening to the loons cry their echoes against the Adirondacks, I'll see you in the canoe, gazing out, listening.