Andrew Revkin writes the Dot Earth blog for The New York Times and is the senior fellow for environmental understanding at Pace University’s Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies. Before participating in a panel on whether it’s time to adapt to climate change, he explained in the Zócalo green room that it’s OK—even necessary to use emoticons—yet he can’t help but worry that it makes him look like a doofus. (For more, see: what it takes to embarrass him.)
What weapon would you choose in a zombie apocalypse?
[Laughs.] A sawed-off shotgun with an ammo belt.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A paleontologist when I was in fourth grade, but it varied.
What’s your favorite season?
Fall. I’m kind of wistful; I like loss in that sense—the transitory nature of stuff is something I like in a weird way. And in the Hudson Valley [where I live] it’s just gorgeous. Spring is too muddy.
When is it appropriate to use emoticons, if ever?
I do use them—just little smileys. E-mail can be tricky without them sometimes, so I think they’re OK. But I worry about them, even though I use them, because I don’t want people to think, “Oh what a doofus.”
What food item are you most likely to binge on?
Binge implies it’s in the house … so it wouldn’t be lobster. Binge is different than favorite. That’s tough. But I know I have binged on things. It’d have to be chocolate-chocolate covered pretzels. If they were around, I would probably binge on them.
What annoys you about environmentalists?
Oh boy. Self-righteousness, among other things.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given?
That’s easy: a U.S. Divers mask and snorkel for my Bar Mitzvah from friends who recognized my love of the ocean. Jacques Cousteau was one of the co-inventors of scuba gear, and it was from his company, which was really cool.
What has been your most successful tweet?
Recently, when Beijing had its epic pollution moment, I did a four-link tweet. It is not easy to fit four links into a tweet, but I can do it. One hundred forty characters means links and some explanatory words; it was like a micro-post.
What embarrasses you?
What does it take to get you out on a dance floor?