Livingontherealworld.org addresses our relationship with the real world, that is, the solid Earth, the oceans, the atmosphere, and the plant and animal life that enable all human affairs.

Today, this relationship is, for most of us, largely, and rather dangerously, secondhand.

In the past, when human numbers were smaller, resource consumption per capita more limited, and when we were all rather more independent, we got by. Will that remain true in the future, when there are nearly ten billion of us, our per capita use of resources is sharply rising, social change is accelerating, and we are increasingly all interconnected and interdependent? How sustainable is our way of life today? How vulnerable is our critical infrastructure (and thus the developed world) to sudden disruption, not just locally but globally? Realistically speaking, we have only the vaguest idea.

This blog explores these subjects. The aim is contribute to a better (real) world, for ourselves and for those who follow – not through the discussions on these pages per se, but by using these as a starting point, by influencing in myriad small ways the subsequent discussions we all have through our social and professional networks, and thus having an accumulative effect.

Comments and lively discussion are welcome (see comment policy). From time to time we may also have guest contributors. (Let me know if you’re interested!) The blog is very much an exploratory effort. Posts will not conform to any preset schedule. The posts will also vary in length. By and large, these will be relatively short. The approach will tend a bit toward “the thought for the day” as opposed to anything more ambitious. Occasionally, we may take stock, summarize, or pull together a thread of thoughts extending over several posts. I have plans for exploring a set of issues in a structured way, but will feel free to digress from time to time as real-world events provide opportunities for comment. Finally, be prepared for a gradual, measured start. We need to establish a bit of ground work before moving out.

William H. Hooke

American Meteorological Society


The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Meteorological Society, its members, funding agencies, or staff. And let me add an apology in advance. There will be typos and misspellings. Proofreading is not my strong suit!


Guest contributors express views independently and individually. The thoughts and opinions expressed by one do not necessarily reflect the views of all (or any) of the other contributors. Indeed, the breadth of the guest contributors views and perspectives will contribute to livingontherealworld’s commentary.

4 Responses to About

  1. Ed O'Lenic says:

    We humans have worked very hard to separate ourselves from the natural setting of life on the real world. We spend nealy all of our time in air-conditioned homes and offices, we flip a switch to power lighting and appliances, we block-out the sun, wind, rain, humidity, cold, heat with insulated walls and roofs and binds, we go from house to car, and then drive miles, each of which would take us about a half-hour to traverse by foot, we communicate instantaneously with each other from the other side of the planet, we insulate ourselves from loneliness by the voices and images from electronic devices.

    These are the experience set of what our primitive ancestors would consider “gods”. Given the relatively fantastic nature of of everyday experience of the world, it is understandable that many people might not understand nature very well, or care to ponder cause and effect on the real planet.

  2. What a refreshing visit to a site… one based on true facts and seeking balanced views! Might I suggest you reach out to Michael Shellenberger*

    I do not always share Michael’s views but I do think his Breakthrough Institute also invites balanced views, even those, like mine that remain a bit more skeptical of the approach taken in the current climate debate.

    Thank you Bill for livingonthe real world.


    *Michael Shellenberger, President, Breakthrough Institute
    436 14th St, Oakland, CA 94612
    office: 510-844-0010 My assistant is Tyler Burton, 510-844-0010 x353 http://www.thebreakthrough.org/

  3. Bill: I’ve been enjoying looking at your blog. Well done. I like the signal and noise thing as well as your wonderful words about Tim. I wanted to alert you to a new book that might be of interest to your readers. It is “High and Dry: Meeting the Challenges of the World’s Growing Dependence on Groundwater” by William M. Alley, Rosemarie Alley. Bill was the leader of the USGS Office of Groundwater for many years and the co-author is his wife. They write very well.


    The particular signficance of this book from the standpoint of your audience is the concept that used properly, groundwatar is the savings bank that society can use to even out the year to year variations in water availability (a direct result of climate variability) but these days it is like an endowment that gets drawn down in all years and ultimately will fail to provide any real service.

    I think your readers will be interested in this book.

    All the best.


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