Category Archives: Inspiration

Like all social movements, this one must confront despair. Here’s some inner fuel for the soul.

Greta Thunberg: Humanity has not yet failed

Sommar & Vinter i P1 | Jun 20 – 75 min.

Spotify URLhttps://open.spotify.com/episode/7E2Wz3C5XwtEw3Pi96tLQA?si=gOHyk4gOSMGxKcgdaoc4lg

Episode Description

Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges world leaders to do more. Doing our best is no longer good enough. We must now do the seemingly impossible, Thunberg says in the Swedish Radio show Summer on P1 where she takes us along her trip to the front lines of the climate crisis.

We don’t accept these odds. That was Greta Thunberg’s principal message while speaking before the General Assembly of the United Nations last year. It referred to the remaining CO2-budget of humanity.

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Large-size Cardboard Resource

I have two boxes once used to ship aluminum fencing.

Four or more large pieces, as large as 4 feet x 6 feet are available for:

  • Signs
  • Posters
  • Table-top backgrounds
  • Score them to accordion-fold

Paint them for impact,
cut them into shapes.

Use your imagination


Thursday, June 11, 2020

I will update availability as the cardboard is dispensed.

Arrange to get as much as you need:

Michael Clemens
iMichael14@Yahoo.com

OMG! look at that honeybee swarm!

Quick, call Noelle!

360-280-4594 | noellenordstrom.oly@gmail.com | #beeallaboutit

Hello neighbors, my name is Noelle and I am a hobbyist beekeeper who moved here last fall. I live on 9th street in Port Angeles. Alas, my bee colonies did not survive the winter. Since I am renting, I decided not to purchase bees this year and I have several empty beehives standing by in my backyard. Honeybee swarming season is revving up, so I wanted to ask you to please give me a shout if you see a honeybee swarm in our neighborhood. I have homes for them. I can even set up a hive in your yard if it has the right conditions and you think it would be fun. I will tend it and we can share the honey. When a swarm clusters, time is of the essence. Please know that though a honeybee swarm is a dramatic, kind of scary looking event, the bees are in a very good mood and not likely to sting. Do not be scared, it is a festive occasion! Please magnetize my contact information above, to your fridge and put it in your phone.

Photo by Timothy Paule II on Pexels.com

My second request is that everyone keep their eyes peeled for an invasive menace called the Asian Giant Hornet. Please familiarize yourself with what they look like so you can report them to WA Dept. Ag. and consider trapping them if you are interested. If you have a hummingbird feeder it is possible you might see one stop by for a drink. It will be nearly as large as a hummingbird! These hornets are dangerous to humans and can decimate honey bee colonies as well as other colonial insects. Just last year they were discovered in British Columbia and in Blaine, Washington. The Washington Department of Agriculture has instigated a volunteer trapping program to try to get a handle on them. Clallam County is one of the spots they want to watch closely. We have at most 2 years to get a grip on these things before they become a long-term problem. If they are here, the queens will be emerging right about now and looking for sugar. They like tree sap, especially oaks.

Photo by FRANK MERIu00d1O on Pexels.com

New York Times article:  Murder Hornets’ in the U.S.: The Rush to Stop the Asian Giant Hornet

AGH Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hornets

WA Dept Agriculture AGH information, report sightings, etc: https://agr.wa.gov/departments/insects-pests-and-weeds/insects/hornets

I am going to set up some traps and am getting supplies. More traps improve our chances of detecting them, so consider setting out and tending (weekly) traps of your own: https://agr.wa.gov/departments/insects-pests-and-weeds/insects/hornets/trapping. If you decide to set out traps, two places you can get the rice cooking wine are McPhee’s on Race St and Saar’s on Lauridsen Blvd in PA.

If you decide to set traps, let me know, and I might be able to offer advice or help. 

Thanks a ton! My husband and I are very happy to land in this excellent place! We look forward to making friends around here.

Take care everyone -Noelle noellenordstrom.oly@gmail.com

“All Earth Life Matters”

Reaching out and fostering awareness in Earth care and concerns within the community has been what the supporting visual art projects have been about all along.  Then along came covid-19 and everything was upended on its ear….so to speak…and we continue to move through the effects of so much change in our lives. 

As the saying goes, “necessity is the Mother of invention” it can also be said now that it is also the “Mother of do-it-yourself” (I personally installed track lighting in my studio last week.  Those three little wires coming out of the ceiling where I’d removed the old light fixture didn’t have to be so intimidating after all….given that I had already switched off the breaker.)  The hardest thing was maneuvering the snake-y track and affixing it where it needed to be.  Voila!  New lighting to work by for this artist soul!

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350.org Crowd-sourced Music Video Project

From:
Ahlay Blakely (The People’s Echo, 350 Seattle), 
Austin Smith (Video, 350 Seattle), 
David Solnit (Art.350.org

Hello!

Song is feeling extraordinarily elemental right now more than ever. 

What are some of the oldest songs you can remember? Song is history: slavery, abolition, civil rights, fair wages, the American Indian Movement just to name a few. Songs are like tiny capsules of information that we send into the future, so that the coming generations can know what we were thinking, feeling, doing and how we were acting.

We are inviting you to participate in a simple, virtual musical project to continue to act together in times of technological social distancing. We want to creatively sing out together to protect our communities during this pandemic. Movements have always faced obstacles and creatively innovated to overcome them. This particular song is a part of a campaign called Stop The Money Pipeline – a national campaign launched in January 2020 to pressure J.P Morgan Chase, Liberty Mutual and BlackRock to STOP FUNDING FOSSIL FUELS.

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And People Stayed Home

“And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and stopped
and listened deeper
someone meditated
someone prayed
someone danced
someone met their shadow
and people began to think differently
and people healed
and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,
dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
even the earth began to heal
and when the danger ended
and people found each other
grieved for the dead people
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways of life
and healed the earth completely
just as they were healed themselves.”

This was written in March 2020
by Catherine (Kitty) O’Meara, from Madison, Wisconsin

Fact v Fiction: “And The People Stayed Home” Viral Poem By Kitty O’Meara (2020),
Not Kathleen O’Meara (1869)

Alexander McCall Smith

These are very difficult times for so many. I have been very touched by the messages that I have received from readers, many of whom are isolated now and are renewing their friendship with Mma Ramotswe and the others.

I have written a poem especially for this moment, and the text is below. It comes to you with my warmest wishes, and my hope that you are keeping well.

“In a time of distance”

The unexpected always happens in the way
The unexpected has always occurred:
While we are doing something else,
While we are thinking of altogether
Different things — matters that events
Then show to be every bit as unimportant
As our human concerns so often are;
And then, with the unexpected upon us,
We look at one another with a sort of surprise;
How could things possibly turn out this way
When we are so competent, so pleased
With the elaborate systems we’ve created —
Networks and satellites, intelligent machines,
Pills for every eventuality — except this one?

And so we turn again to face one another
And discover those things
We had almost forgotten,
But that, mercifully, are still there:
Love and friendship, not just for those
To whom we are closest, but also for those
Whom we do not know and of whom
Perhaps we have in the past been frightened;
The words brother and sister, powerful still,
Are brought out, dusted down,
Found to be still capable of expressing
What we feel for others, that precise concern;
Joined together in adversity
We discover things we had put aside:
Old board games with obscure rules,
Books we had been meaning to read,
Letters we had intended to write,
Things we had thought we might say
But for which we never found the time;
And from these discoveries of self, of time,
There comes a new realization
That we have been in too much of hurry,
That we have misused our fragile world,
That we have forgotten the claims of others
Who have been left behind;
We find that out in our seclusion,
In our silence; we commit ourselves afresh,
We look for a few bars of song
That we used to sing together,
A long time ago; we give what we can,
We wait, knowing that when this is over
A lot of us — not all perhaps — but most,
Will be slightly different people,
And our world, though diminished,
Will be much bigger, its beauty revealed afresh.

Facebook | Twitter | AlexanderMcCallSmith.com

Untitled

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans

Stop. Just stop.
It is no longer a request. It is a mandate.
We will help you.
We will bring the supersonic, high speed 
merry-go-round to a halt.
We will stop
the planes
the trains
the schools
the malls
the meetings
the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our single and shared beating heart,
the way we breathe together, in unison.
Our obligation is to each other,
As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.
We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions,
to bring you this long-breaking news:
We are not well.
None of us; all of us are suffering.
Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth did not give you pause.
Nor the typhoons in Africa,China, Japan.
Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.
You have not been listening.
It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives.
But the foundation is giving way,
buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.
We will help you.
We will bring the firestorms to your body
We will bring the fever to your body
We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs
that you might hear:
We are not well.
Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.
We are Messenger. We are Ally. We are a balancing force.
We are asking you:
To stop, to be still, to listen;
To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all;
To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart;
To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy?
To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy?
To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?
Many are afraid now.
Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you—in your stillness,
listen for its wisdom.
What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?
As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?
Stop.
Notice if you are resisting.
Notice what you are resisting.
Ask why.
Stop. Just stop.
Be still.
Listen.
Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well.
We will help you, if you listen.

  ~ Kristin Flyntz, 3.12.2020

YouTube reading of the poem

Yarns From the Farm — Climate Basics

Nan Bray is an oceanographer and climate scientist
who has farmed superfine merinos near Oatlands since 2000

Note to my readers: This is a series I’m writing on climate change for our local monthly newspaper this year. I wanted to go back to the basics of the science behind climate change.
I’ll post them in coming Yarns.
Cheers, Nan



Leading Australia’s
Antarctic Program

A Climate Basics Series

  1. Carbon dioxide: nature’s tiny solar panels
  2. Take a deep breath
  3. Galileo Fixes Everything
  4. A Silver Lining
  5. If You Don’t Like the Heat,
    Get Out of the Kitchen

New yarns about Climate early each month

Interrupting the bad news with kindness

A Democrat and a Republican were on a plane

It sounds like a set up to a political joke, doesn’t it?

It’s actually real. On a recent four hour-flight to Chicago, my seatmate and I enjoyed something that has become rare in these times: a civil exchange of ideas and a surprising consensus. He was from rural Oregon, a gun owner, and a Republican. I’m from “the valley,” a moderate Democrat, and very concerned about gun violence in our country.

Had we followed the script, we might have eyed each other suspiciously, muttered insults under our breath, and tuned each other out with the in-flight entertainment. Instead, he asked about my work, and I shared how I created the Americans of Conscience Checklist.

“Oh, wow,” he said. “That sounds really great.”

“It’s non-partisan and meant to engage all people in their democracy by speaking up for our shared values. I really think our nation needs more listening and better collaboration.” He looked thoughtful and then nodded in agreement.

Taking a courageous risk

When I asked his views on the increasing gun violence, he surprised me by saying, “I believe people should have to get trained and pass a test—just like a drivers license—before they can own a firearm. There’s no good reason to oppose this.”

“I’m surprised,” I confessed. “That’s not what I expected you to say.” He grinned at me.

We’d found common ground. Our conversation was a humbling reminder that our neighbors—red, blue, and green Americans—are more than the labels we put on them. I could have smugly written him off with misinformed biases, but he wasn’t a caricature. He was a real person with values, cares, and concerns just like me. In listening deeply, I came to understand this person and appreciate his thoughtful, nuanced views.

As we landed, I thanked him for sharing so openly with me about a contentious issue. He thanked me for being curious and listening despite our differences. We agreed our country would be better if everyone showed respect to one another, even when we don’t see eye to eye. I got off the plane feeling more hopeful than I had in weeks.

The value of choosing kindness, even now

When I started the AoC Checklist three years ago, my vision was—and remains—to create a kind and thriving nation. This worthwhile effort can take many forms and many small steps to achieve, but it’s fundamentally grounded in hope.

Despite evidence to the contrary, kindness is part of the fabric of our nation. You need only peruse our Good News section in each issue to find generous souls and organizations doing good because they can. Although we may temporarily forget this kinder nature in the rising tide of hate and fear, it’s still there waiting when tragedy strikes and we decide to be part of the solutions. Kindness isn’t magic; it comes down to making a choice.

Thriving means much more than having a good leader in the White House. In a thriving nation, every person enjoys dignity and respect, health and happiness. That’s why, week after week, our Checklist offers ways for all Americans—red and blue and green—to steer our nation in the direction of a healthy democracy that represents all its people. Every time you take an action, you help create this.

The future is up to us

Feeling discouraged is normal. Our team feels it. I feel it. Everywhere you look there is so much to fix, the project seems impossible. If you notice this discouragement too, here’s a reminder that if a conservative and liberal on a plane can talk civilly, respectfully, and meaningfully about a hard topic (and come out smiling!), maybe all isn’t lost just yet.

That’s why Americans of Conscience Checklist is still here, keeping the flame lit and held high. We believe that a brighter future is possible, no matter how bleak things may seem at the moment. It won’t be easy create the kind and thriving nation of our vision. It will take listening and advocacy. It will require tenacity and generosity. And. Every time you and I show up with courage and compassion—every time we take small but meaningful actions, we say YES to that brighter, flourishing future.

We create that vision by choosing it. If you need a place to start (or re-start), join us in creating a kinder, thriving nation this week.

Warmly,
Jen Hofmann
Americans of Conscience Checklist, creator and editor

Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal

Grassroots Rising by Ronnie Cummins, founder and director of the Organic Consumers Association, will be available January 28. This is one of the most important books Chelsea Green has published, and we are offering activists and organizations the special discounts listed below.

$17.95 paperback – 208 pages – ISBN 9781603589758 – Available January 28, 2020

“This is a book that should be in the hands of every activist working on food and farming, climate change, and the Green New Deal.”
—Vandana Shiva, scientist, environmentalist, social activist; author of Earth Democracy, Soil Not Oil, and Stolen Harvest

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Chicago Review of Books — Burning Worlds

The Man Who Coined ‘Cli-Fi’ Has Some Reading Suggestions For You

by Amy Brady — February 8, 2017

“Burning Worlds” is a new monthly column dedicated to examining important trends in climate change fiction, or “cli-fi.”

It astonishes to think just how long humans have known that the Earth is getting warmer. The term “global warming” didn’t enter public consciousness until the 1970s, but scientists have studied our planet’s natural greenhouse effect since at least the 1820s. In 1896, a Swedish chemist named Svante Arrheniussome concluded that human activity (like coal burning) contributed to the effect, warming the planet further.

And yet, here we find ourselves in 2017, still wrestling with man-made climate change like it’s a new phenomenon. Why have we not acted sooner? The answer may lie in what Indian author Amitav Ghosh calls humanity’s “great derangement”: our inability to perceive the enormity of the catastrophe that awaits us.

That’s where fiction writers come in.*

For years, authors have been writing climate change fiction, or “cli-fi,” a genre of literature that imagines the past, present, and future effects of climate change. Their work crosses literary boundaries in terms of style and content, landing on shelves marked “sci-fi” and “literary fiction.” Perhaps you’ve read one of the classics: Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake or Kim Stanley Robinson’s Forty Signs of Rain. Then there’s Ian McEwan’s Solar and J. G. Ballard’s 1965 novel The Burning World, from which this column derives its name. Each of these novels—like others in the genre—help us to “see” possible futures lived out on a burning, drowning, or dying planet.

Here at the Chicago Review of Books, we feel it’s time to give cli-fi more attention. To that end, we bring you “Burning Worlds,” a new monthly column dedicated to examining what’s hot (sorry) in cli-fi. It’ll feature interviews, reviews, and analyses of the genre with the hope of generating a larger conversation about climate change and why imagined depictions of the phenomenon are vital to the literary community—and beyond.

Kicking us off is an interview with journalist and former teacher Dan Bloom, the man who coined the term “cli-fi” (read more about Bloom in his interview with Literary Hub). Bloom founded and maintains The Cli-Fi Report, the web’s most comprehensive site dedicated to cli-fi. He is a tireless crusader for the genre, a self-proclaimed “cli-fi missionary.” In this interview, we discuss what inspired his passion for climate change fiction, why he thinks the term “cli-fi” caught on, and what he recommends we all read next.

Continue to read the interview . . .

Nature is Speaking

Nature doesn’t need people.
People need Nature.
Nature holds at least a third of the solution to climate change.


What Force Of Nature Are You?

Sky — Joan Chen
Ice — Liam Neeson
Mountain — Lee Pace
Water — Penelope Cruz

Flower — Lupita Nyong’o
The Soil — Edward Norton
Forest — Shailene Woodley
The Ocean — Harrison Ford
Home — Reese Witherspoon
Coral Reef — Ian Somerhalder
Mother Nature — Julia Roberts
The Redwoods — Robert Redford

Here: Poems for the Planet

Here: Poems for the Planet is a lovesong to a planet in crisis.

Summoning a chorus of over 125 diverse poetic voices—including Mary Oliver, Robert Hass, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Ross Gay, W.S. Merwin, Natalie Diaz, Kimiko Hahn, and others—this anthology approaches the impending environmental crisis with a sense of urgency and hopefulness.

“The Road And The Sky”

While listening to Jackson Brown’s album “Late for the Sky” for the ump-teenth time, the words of “The Road and the Sky” suddenly registered with my new climate activism. In 1974, he was singing about climate change and I hadn’t noticed. Listening with “new ears”, I realized he was telling the story of our time. Have a listen, or read the words:

When we come to place where the road and the sky collide
Throw me over the edge and let my spirit glide
They told me I was going to have to work for a living
But all I want to do is ride
I don’t care where we’re going from here
Honey, you decide

Well I spend my time at the bottom of a wishing well
And I can hear my dreams singing clear as a bell
I used to know where they ended and the world began
But now it’s getting hard to tell
I could be just around the corner from Heaven or a mile from Hell

I’m just rolling away from yesterday
Behind a wheel of a stolen Chevrolet
I’m going to get a little higher
And see if I can hot-wire reality

Now can you see those dark clouds gathering up ahead?
They’re going to wash this planet clean like the Bible said
Now you can hold on steady and try to be ready
But everybody’s gonna get wet
Don’t think it won’t happen just because it hasn’t happened yet

I’m just rolling away from yesterday
Behind the wheel of a stolen Chevrolet
I’m going to get a little higher
And see if I can hot-wire reality

Kierkegaard’s parable

A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world is going to end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke.

Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or, Part I

“Chopping down our fence for fuel”

In 1931, the year he died, Thomas Edison told Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, his retirement neighbors in Florida:

“We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind, and tide. I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

 

September 20th

Leviathans in the Harbor

More and bigger cruise ships are crowding coastal destinations. When is enough, enough? Who gets to decide?

by Brian Payton , August 27, 2019, Hakai Magazine 
‘Knoll Lowney, the lawyer representing the three plaintiffs who claimed they were victims of Carnival’s environmental violations, said, “Time and time again, Carnival has shown its contempt of environmental laws and the rule of law.”’

DNC votes down a Climate Debate

Today the DNC voted down holding a climate debate. Evan Weber of the Sunrise Movement was in the room and live tweeted the conversation. The link below is that thread.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1165334843221168128.html

Bill McKibben

Thirty years ago Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about climate change. Now he broadens the warning: the entire human game, he suggests, has begun to play itself out.

Bill McKibben’s groundbreaking book The End of Nature — issued in dozens of languages and long regarded as a classic — was the first book to alert us to global warming. But the danger is broader than that: even as climate change shrinks the space where our civilization can exist, new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics threaten to bleach away the variety of human experience.

Falter tells the story of these converging trends and of the ideological fervor that keeps us from bringing them under control. And then, drawing on McKibben’s experience in building 350.org, the first truly global citizens movement to combat climate change, it offers some possible ways out of the trap. We’re at a bleak moment in human history — and we’ll either confront that bleakness or watch the civilization our forebears built slip away.

Falter is a powerful and sobering call to arms, to save not only our planet but also our humanity.

Thomas Friedman

“Thank You for Being Late”

An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

A field guide to the twenty-first century, written by one of its most celebrated
observers.

Thomas Friedman shows that we have entered an age of dizzying acceleration–
and explains how to live in it.

The Climate Museum’s poetry slam

Watch These Young Spoken-Word Poets Take On Climate Change

The Climate Museum’s poetry slam at Harlem’s Apollo Theater was
equal parts grief, anger, and hope.

August Meditation for Climate Emergency

August Meditation for Climate Emergency – Sun, Aug 11, 2019 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM PDT
— The Climate Mobilization

Join our webinar for this hour of meditation and conversation about the personal side of the climate crisis. We’ll be debriefing our experience asking the question “how do you feel about the climate emergency?” and will share a meditation focused on mindfulness of emotions to help us navigate charged conversations.

‘And a Child Shall Lead Them,’ or: How This Boomer Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Green New Deal

‘And a Child Shall Lead Them,’ or: How This Boomer Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Green New Deal

Ross Macfarlane

‘I am talking to my peeps: those of us who get the science, care deeply about the environment and the need for climate action, and are filled with both disgust and determination at our current course as a nation. But many of us have well-earned scars and deep concerns that make us reluctant to join a children’s crusade that might lead us off a cliff. I get it; I share your fears. This piece articulates some reasons that I believe following these young leaders and embracing the Green New Deal might be our best and perhaps only hope to mobilize action at the pace and scale needed to avert the worst impacts of the gathering climate crisis.’

View at Medium.com

I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle.

I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle.

Stop obsessing over your environmental “sins.” Fight the oil and gas industry instead.

‘When people come to me and confess their green sins, as if I were some sort of eco-nun, I want to tell them they are carrying the guilt of the oil and gas industry’s crimes. That the weight of our sickly planet is too much for any one person to shoulder. And that that blame paves the road to apathy, which can really seal our doom.’

Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses about the environment

Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses about the environment

From now, house style guide recommends terms such as ‘climate crisis’ and ‘global heating’

THIS LAND IS NOT YOUR LAND. OR MINE.

this-land-is-not

FIRST PERSON

THIS LAND IS NOT YOUR LAND. OR MINE.
By Mary Annaïse Heglar
“The iconic folk song has become an anthem for the predominantly white environmental movement. But can a colonized nation built on the backs of slaves ever really make that claim?”

How Google, Microsoft, and Bit Tech are Automating the Climate Crisis

Author: Brian Merchant

Source: Gizmodo

‘These deals, many of which were made just last year, at what may be the height of public awareness of the threats posed by climate change, are explicitly aimed at streamlining, improving, and rendering oil and gas extraction operations more profitable.’

Full Article: How Google, Microsoft, and Bit Tech are Automating the Climate Crisis

 

“What matters is am I doing the right thing?”

“It’s so easy to look at the big picture and get completely disheartened. … What we need to remember is what is my own personal moral obligation. When I wake up each day thinking about what I might do from that perspective … when I come at it from a deep sense of moral obligation, it really doesn’t matter what the results are. What matters is am I doing the right thing, and am I doing all I can right now at this time of crisis?

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/2/12/the_end_of_ice_dahr_jamail

That’s Dahr Jamail, author of The End of Ice, discussing climate change with Amy Goodman this week on Democracy Now.

Voice from time immemorial

This “letter from an orca” was published in today’s Seattle Times, with a thought-provoking twist at the end:

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/orcas-and-a-way-of-life/

 

 

Dr. Guenther Twitter Thread

On talking about climate change

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Greta Thunberg’s full speech

Greta Thunberg in Davos

and this

2007 Logos

by Scott T. Starbuck

When I complain to the old man 
about rising gas prices,
he says “I want $10 a gallon.”

“Why?” is the obvious question.
“Because I love birds,” he says.

At the time, I thought him insane
but now I think most everyone else is.


Scott T. Starbuck is a poet/activist and co-creative writing coordinator at San Diego Mesa College. His ecoblog, Trees, Fish, and Dreams, with audio poems, is at riverseek.blogspot.com. His books, Carbonfish BluesIndustrial Oz, and Hawk on Wire, are available at Fomite Press. Here’s his Yale Climate Connections interview.

Scott T. Starbuck is a poet/activist. His books are Industrial Oz: Ecopoems, noted by Bill McKibben as “rousing, needling, haunting,” Hawk on Wire: Ecopoems, available at Fomite Press (preferred) and Amazon.

How We Stopped Corporate Psychopaths from Cooking Planet Earth

For Mary DeMocker

By Scott T. Starbuck

We planted trees everywhere at once.
Facebook posted only the words “Go outside.”

“Destroy Your Television Day” grew more popular 
than Xmas and the 4th of July.

Children of execs saw themselves as global citizen
sand despite every temptation and distraction

disowned their wayward parents.
ExxonMobil became BlueOrbSolar.

Each country committed to saving 
one thing from extinction — them.

People wondered why it took so long.


Scott T. Starbuck is a poet/activist and co-creative writing coordinator at San Diego Mesa College. His ecoblog, Trees, Fish, and Dreams, with audio poems, is at riverseek.blogspot.com. His books, Carbonfish BluesIndustrial Oz, and Hawk on Wire, are available at Fomite Press. Here’s his Yale Climate Connections interview.

Thoughts at the End of Empire

by Scott T. Starbuck

It’s possible future generations will destroy
our art, literature, music, film,
and corporations, in bitterness
for allowing ecosystem collapse,

and mistrust for how many leaders
were distracted, apathetic, selfish
ignorant, or insane with money and power.

It’s possible future generations will redefine
family, community, work, value, happiness,
life, dirt, success.

It’s possible education will change
from locking children in boxes
to getting them outside in tide pools,
rivers, creeks, deserts, mountains

and their community of remaining
mammals, birds, fish, amphibians,
invertebrates, reptiles, plants, trees.

It’s also possible, based on our collective
behavior, there won’t be future generations.


Scott T. Starbuck is a poet/activist and co-creative writing coordinator at San Diego Mesa College. His ecoblog, Trees, Fish, and Dreams, with audio poems, is at riverseek.blogspot.com. His books, Carbonfish BluesIndustrial Oz, and Hawk on Wire, are available at Fomite Press. Here’s his Yale Climate Connections interview.

Scott T. Starbuck is a poet/activist. His books are Industrial Oz: Ecopoems, noted by Bill McKibben as “rousing, needling, haunting,” Hawk on Wire: Ecopoems, available at Fomite Press (preferred) and Amazon.

Wind Spirit

by Scott T. Starbuck

Wind Spirit said to the man, “I will ask a question, and each day you give the wrong answer,
I will take a finger. The question is hard, requiring much reflection, and self-purification.
I don’t know how many fingers you will lose. That is up to you.
How will you save the community of species on Earth?”

“The question is too hard,” protested the man.

“It has been ordained,” said Wind Spirit, “and cannot be changed. I will return tomorrow at noon.”

The man knew coyote was smart so he went to ask, but all coyotes were dead.

He knew king salmon had a bright red soul so he went to ask, but all king salmon were dead.

He knew steelhead trout could leap waterfalls so he went to ask, but all steelhead trout were dead.

He knew eagle had unerring vision so he went to ask, but all eagles were dead.

Trembling, he knew cougar could be invisible, but all cougars were dead.

In ten days, the man lost all his fingers.

This is a parable written on what remains of the ancient Pleistocene Lake Chewaucan now called Summer Lake, Oregon.

Published in the Amsterdam Quarterly
Writing and art in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and the world

Scott T. Starbuck is a poet/activist and co-creative writing coordinator at San Diego Mesa College. His ecoblog, Trees, Fish, and Dreams, with audio poems, is at riverseek.blogspot.com. His books, Carbonfish BluesIndustrial Oz, and Hawk on Wire, are available at Fomite Press. Here’s his Yale Climate Connections interview.

Scott T. Starbuck is a poet/activist. His books are Industrial Oz: Ecopoems, noted by Bill McKibben as “rousing, needling, haunting,” Hawk on Wire: Ecopoems, available at Fomite Press (preferred) and Amazon.

Science of a Meaningful Life: Top 10 Insights of 2018

These are the most provocative and influential findings published during this past year.

Best Books of 2018 for a Meaningful Life

The year’s must-reads help to weather hard times and make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Native Skywatchers

Bringing Together Cultural and Scientific Knowledge of
the Stars

This workshop builds on combined decades of experience in what we come to call “duallearning” – the weaving together of cultural and scientific knowledge, stories, and hands-on activities in an environment where neither is dominant over the other and resonance between the two is easily found. PI A. Lee’s Native Skywatchers initiative and Collaborator D. Scalice’s NASA and the Navajo Nation partnership form the basis of the pedagogical approach of dual-learning.

We will focus on three constellations—Wakinyan-Thunderbird, To Win/Tun Win-Blue Spirit Woman (Lee, 2014), and Maang-Loon (Lee, 2014)—grounding participants in their location in the night sky and the knowledge contained in their stories. Then, we will introduce astronomy and astrobiology concepts that correspond, relate, and resonate: Wakinyan-Thunderbird with precession; To Win/Tun Win-Blue Spirit Woman with stellar nucleosynthesis; and Maang-Loon with Solar System formation. In each case, we will introduce scientific hands-on activities/labs, and participants will work in groups to expand them to reflect and teach the cultural knowledge they learned.

  • WHEN: Wednesday, January 9 at 1PM
  • WHERE: ʔaʔkʷustəŋáw̕txʷ House of Learning,
    Peninsula College Longhouse
  • Contact: Sadie Crowe at Longhouse@pencol.edu (360) 417-7992

We respectfully acknowledge that we are guests at Klallam territories

“The 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life”

By Karen Armstrong

The Compassion Campaign of Clallam County is co-sponsoring this 2019 Compassion Winter Read

12 Steps book cover

As a scholar of world religions, Armstrong extends an invitation to explore the particular place of compassion in religious and ethical teachings. She specifically focuses on the Golden Rule as expressed in each one, which served as common ground for the Charter of Compassion. As she acquaints the reader with various perspectives, she also describes compassion as “Love in Action.”

Invite people from work, organizations, neighbors, friends and family!


SIGN UP NOW: To facilitate or join a group at CompassionCampaignCC@gmail.com or call Marilyn at 360-477-0681

You will receive specific info for that group when you sign up.
More groups are forming. Maybe start an online ZOOM group (We can help with that!)


Groups begin the week of January 6th and run twelve (12) weeks.

SEQUIM
Sundays, 2-3:30pm, OUUF, 1033 N. Barr Rd.
Mondays, 10am-Noon (1st meeting only) 2-4pm all other weeks, Sequim Library
Wednesdays, 10am-Noon, Trinity United Methodist Church

AGNEW
Wednesdays, 10-11:30am, Monterra in Agnew

PORT ANGELES
Sundays, 11am-Noon, Holy Trinity Lutheran
Wednesdays, 10-11:30pm, Eash Home
Wednesdays, 1-2:30pm, CSLPA, 254 N. Bagley Creek Rd.
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:00pm, Unity in the Olympics, 2917 E. Myrtle Street
Wednesdays, 7-8:30pm, CSLPA, 254 N. Bagley Creek Rd.
Thursdays, 10:30am-Noon, Port Angeles Library, 2210 W. Peabody St.


“Celebration of the Journey”,
April 6, 2019, 1-3pm at the Shipley Center in Sequim,
where all groups can share what we’ve learned and “what’s next.”

Conservation International Presents

Nature is Speaking

Featuring short films personifying Nature, narrated by folks we know well.

Moving the Country Towards Emergency Climate Mobilization, Together

Dear Olympic Climate Action,  thank you so much for supporting The Climate Mobilization!

We are a small but fierce organization that advocates the strongest, fastest, sanest approach to the climate crisis. Because of your support, we are moving the country toward mobilization. A few highlights:

  • April 16, 2016 Bernie Sanders calls for WWII scale climate mobilization in Brooklyn Debate with Hillary Clinton
  • July 22, 2016: Need for WWII climate mobilization officially adopted into the official Democratic party platform 
  • November 1, 2017: Hoboken, NJ city council unanimously passes a resolution declaring climate emergency and committing to a decade transition to zero emissions brought by local TCM Hoboken chapter. 
  • December 5, 2017: The county council of Montgomery County, MD unanimously supports a resolution declaring a climate emergency and committing to an end to all emissions by 2035. The move and TCM’s participation is covered in the Washington Post and picked up by the Associated Press, reaching over 50 outlets.  
  • January, 2018: Inspired by our success in Montgomery County, Seattle 350 and a coalition of Washington state climate groups launch the “Climate Countdown,” demanding an immediate halt to all fossil fuel infrastructure, and 100% renewable energy in ten years or less.
  • May 4th, 2018, LA City Council Unanimously votes to explore Climate Emergency Mobilization Department (CityWatch LA).


Your support has made this possible. Sincere thanks,

Margaret,

Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD
Founder and Director, The Climate Mobilization
Climate change is an emergency. Let’s treat it like one. Let’s mobilize.

The Climate Mobilization
275 9th Street, Suite 150387
Brooklyn, NY 11215
United States

The Madhouse Effect

Publisher’s Book Description

The award winning climate scientist Michael E. Mann and the Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Tom Toles have fought at the frontlines of climate denialism for most of their careers. They have witnessed the manipulation of the media by business and political interests and the unconscionable play to partisanship on issues that affect the well-being of millions. The lessons they have learned have been invaluable, inspiring this brilliant, colorful escape hatch from the madhouse of the climate wars.

Through satire, “The Madhouse Effect” portrays the intellectual pretzels into which denialists must twist logic to explain away the clear evidence that man-made activity has changed our climate. Toles’s cartoons collapse counter-scientific strategies into their biased components, helping readers see how to best strike at these fallacies. Mann’s expert skills at science communication aim to restore sanity to a debate that continues to rage against widely acknowledged scientific consensus. The synergy of these two commonsense crusaders enlivens the gloom and doom of so many climate-themed books–and may even convert a few of the faithful to the right side of science.

Sneak Peak of Chapter 1: Science How it Works (Select EXCERPT and zoom)

Chapter 7: Geoengineering, or “What Could Possibly Go Wrong” ( PDF)

Here’s a way to fight climate change: Empower women

This story was originally published by WIRED and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

“Gender and climate are inextricably linked,” said environmentalist and author Katharine Wilkinson on stage at TEDWomen last week, a gathering of women thought leaders and activists in Palm Desert, California.

Women, she says, are disproportionately affected by climate change. When communities are decimated by floods or droughts, tsunamis or fire, the most vulnerable among them suffer the most. Because women across the world have fewer rights, less money, and fewer freedoms, in those moments of extreme loss, women are often hit the hardest. “There’s greater risk of displacement, higher odds of being injured or killed during a natural disaster. Prolonged drought can precipitate early marriage, as families contend with scarcity. Floods can force last-resort prostitution as women struggle to make ends meet. These dynamics are most acute under conditions of poverty,” she says.

With several new reports painting an increasingly bleak picture of the state of the world’s climate, Wilkinson is delivering her message at a time when leaders on the global stage are looking for solutions. As thousands of people gather this week at a major climate summit known as COP24, Wilkinson is making a plea to open people’s eyes to one fact: Women’s rights are Earth’s rights. “In my experience, to have eyes wide open is to hold a broken heart every day,” she says.

But she has hope. Though women feel the effects of climate the most, they also represent an opportunity. “To address climate change, we must make gender equity a reality. And in the face of a seemingly impossible challenge, women and girls are a fierce source of possibility,” Wilkinson says. She and her team at the nonprofit Project Drawdown have been studying the real-world steps people can take to fix climate change, resulting in a best-selling 2017 book highlighting the top 100 solutions to reverse warming.

Her argument is that if women are empowered in three distinct ways, the downstream effects on the environment will make a huge difference in the fight for climate change. She argues that if women were treated more equally professionally, they’d have fewer kids and the land they farm would be more efficient, all of which would help save the planet.

“Women are the primary farmers of the world,” Wilkinson says. They produce 60 to 80 percent of the food in lower-income countries, she says, on small plots. These farmers are known as “smallholders.”

Yet due to local laws and entrenched biases, women farmers are given fewer resources and support from their governments, and they have fewer rights to their own land. For example, in some countries women are not allowed to own their own land, which makes it impossible for them to use the land as collateral for a loan to buy farming equipment. In other places, women are are not able to borrow money without a man’s signature. These restrictions hamper their ability to run their farms efficiently, leading to lower yields.

This is a problem not just for their earning potential, but for the Earth. Every year, humans clear-cut forests to create more agriculture land to grow crops to feed the world’s growing population. In turn, this deforestation increases the rate of climate change.

Instead of clear-cutting new land, why not work to make the existing farms run by women more efficient? “Close that gap and farm yields rise by 20 to 30 percent,” says Wilkinson. “Support women smallholders, realize higher yields, avoid deforestation, and sustain the life-giving power of forests.” If women’s farms yielded as much on average as farms run by men across the world, it would stop approximately 2 billion tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere between now and 2050. “That’s on par with the impact household recycling can have globally,” she says.

Besides addressing inequality in agriculture, Wilkinson says giving women access to high-quality voluntary reproductive health care would have tremendous benefit for the climate.

“Curbing growth of our human population is a side effect,” she says — one that would reduce global emissions. Do that by making birth control and medical care more available to women across the world.

And do it by educating women. Wilkinson notes that more than 130 million women worldwide are denied access to school. Yet the more education a woman attains, the fewer children she has. From a conservation perspective, empowering women to have smaller families is an objectively positive outcome. “The right to go to school effects how many human beings live on this planet,” says Wilkinson.

With these three changes — empowerment of women farmers, increased global access to family planning, and the right to an education — Wilkinson and her team at Project Drawdown predict that by midcentury, improving gender equality could equal 1 billion fewer people on Earth.

“Gender equity is on par with wind turbines and solar panels and forests,” Wilkinson says, adding, “This does not mean women and girls are responsible for fixing everything. But we probably will.”

Books We Love Best in 2018

Sightline staff shares their most memorable reads of the year, including fiction, sci-fi, poetry, and more.
Photo of Anne Christnovich

Author: Anne Christnovich (@anne_c_1234) on December 14, 2018 at 5:37 am

If you or someone you know is the kind of person who calls winter “reading season,” this list is for you.

If you or someone you know is the kind of person who handles a wrapped gift and bursts with excitement when it becomes evident that, “Ooh! It’s a book!” this is the kind of article you should casually leave open on your screen as an–ah-hem!–hint to your family members in case they happen to be hunting for gift ideas.

At Sightline, we’re readers. Books are our friends. And without further ado, these are some of our favorite reads this year, from novels, sci-fi, nonfiction, poetry, and more. If you have a book you loved best this year, leave the title and author in the comments section below.

Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke Image by Penguin Books Publishing

Eric De Place, Programs director

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainier Maria Rilke

The best book I read this year was an old one: Rilke’s book, based on a correspondence he carried out between 1902 and 1908. The letters work as meditations on many subjects: the life of the mind, professional struggle, loneliness, and learning how to swim against the current of conventional wisdom. It’s good fare for the Northwest’s long winter nights.

Alan Durning, Executive Director

This year, when liberal democracy is under siege near and far, I have been reading about totalitarianism of both the left and the right. I recommend two books by the same author, historian Adam Hochschild.

Spain In Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

This first book details the epochal left-right showdown on the Iberian peninsula in the years leading up to World War II. It was a dress rehearsal for that great war: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini armed and sent troops to the Spanish generals, ultimately led by General Francisco Franco, who sought to overthrow the elected government. The West dithered endlessly, and only the Soviet Union helped the Spanish government. Hochschild casts light on the massive, organized brutality that marked the birth of the Franco dictatorship, but he also illuminates the purges that decimated the Spanish Left during the civil war—murders and disappearances ordered not only by the Right but by Communists who took directions from Moscow. In this conflict, American (and Canadian) combatants were idealistic, zealous, and sometimes credulous volunteers. To their credit, they went to fight the fascists when Western governments refused to do so. Had France, the United Kingdom, and the United States supported the government and its troops—or even just cut off oil shipments to Franco from the United States—Franco might never have risen to power. Indeed, Spain might have fought with the Allies in World War II. To the volunteers’ discredit, too many turned a blind eye to the cancerous barbarism that Soviet Communism had already become.

The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin 

The second book documents the purges that killed perhaps 20 million people in the first few decades of the Soviet Union. Two things linger with me from this sobering book: the scale of the genocide (exceeding even the Nazi Holocaust in its macabre toll) and the way that psychopathy came dressed in the political ideology of equality and liberation. The pervasiveness of denunciations, purity testing, and thought policing made Joseph Stalin’s death camps an especially potent reminder that tolerance for dissent, whether from the cant of the Left or the Right, is among the indispensable virtues of any civilization. A good reminder in a time of deep divisions in the United States.

OK, that’s kind of a downer. So here’s a bonus book: something more uplifting. Hochschild also wrote my favorite history ever. Bury The Chains chronicles the implausible victory of the British anti-slavery movement. It’s a profile of dissenters who changed the world. Inspiring and a happy ending!

Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, by Adam Hochschild Image by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing

The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin, by Adam Hochschild Image by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers

Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves Image by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Kristin Eberhard, Senior researcher

The Broken Earth Trilogy: The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky. Image by Orbit Publishing

The Broken Earth Trilogy

I loved N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy: The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky. All three books won the prestigious science-fiction Hugo Award, as they should have. This is an epic story of almost-magic, what it means to be human, to be part of a family, to love, set in a world that we can easily imagine could be our own. The protagonist is a middle-aged woman and the author is an African-American woman who weaves themes of race and womanhood seamlessly throughout.

Infomocracy by Malka Older Image by Tor.com Publishing

Infomocracy by Malka Older

A sci-fi book about an idealistic crusader fighting to keep a new-fangled democracy reform… is it possible Older wrote this book specifically for me? Thank you, I loved it.

The Power by Naomi Alderman Image by Naomi Alderman Novels & Games

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Naomi Alderman, a protégé of Margaret Atwood, knocks it out of the park with this piece of feminist science fiction. It is a short, breezy read, but packs a punch about how power changes us, and what people do when they have it.

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin Image by Penguin Random House

These Truths: A History of the United States Image by W. W. Norton & Company

Anna Fahey, Director of strategic communication

Jill Lepore

I adore Jill Lepore. Over the years, I have devoured her writing in The New Yorker on American history, law, literature, and politics, but only recently tucked into her books. I started with her clever recasting of America’s founding decades via a charming portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin. Lepore’s alternative vantage on well-worn stories and historical figures was so refreshing, I’m now making my way through her latest, These Truths, a comprehensive history of the American experiment that through obscure archival documents gives voice to forgotten characters and reexamines everything from Age of Discovery to present-day manipulations of our founding myths (by Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump alike) through a feminist and social justice lens. Plus, the prose is stunning. Lepore’s language has a poetic rhythm and depth that almost makes you forget you’re struggling to keep a 4.5-pound history text propped in your lap.

Land Mammals and Sea Creatures: A Novel Image by ECW Press

Land Mammals and Sea Creatures by Jen Neale

As Pacific Northwest rains set in this fall, I also enjoyed curling up with British Columbian Jen Neale’s debut novel. I found the surprise of the book’s “magical realism” well balanced with the comforting familiarity of the characters and the Cascadian places Neale lovingly captures.

Aven Frey, Development associate

The Ends of the World by Peter Branna Image by Harper Collins Publishing

The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions by Peter Brannan

It may be kind of perverse, but in these times of great climate uncertainty, I’ve actually found comfort in reading Peter Brannen’s book. Going over each of the last five mass extinction events in Earth’s history, the author discusses the plants and creatures that existed during each epoch, the fossil record of their disappearances, and the current scientific evidence that exists for the cause of each event. Spoiler alert: climate change has played a major role, each and every time our biosphere has experienced a massive species die-off. How is this comforting? Well, so far biodiversity has come back quite spectacularly after even the most thorough annihilation, so it’s reassuring to know the planet will bounce back after we’re done self-destructing.

For Kids

Top marks in kids’ books this year go to Maddi’s Fridge, about kids dealing with food insecurity, and A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, about the BOTUS (bunny of the United States).

Maddi’s Fridge, written by Seattle teacher and author Lois Brandt, teaches kids about what happens when a family doesn’t have enough money to buy food, and how we can all help out so that no kid has to go to bed hungry.

If you haven’t yet heard about Marlon Bundo, presented by John Oliver of Last Week Tonight fame, you should go buy a copy right now, whether you have kids in your life or not. For one, all proceeds benefit The Trevor Project and AIDS United, and for another, how can you resist a story about Mike Pence’s gay pet bunny finding his true love and leading an insurrection against an intolerant (and suspiciously familiar-looking) stink bug who says being different is bad?

Find this article interesting? Please consider making a gift to support our work!

For those that do have young kids in their lives, I highly recommend The Importance of being Little: What Young Children Really Need From Grownups, by former Yale researcher Erika Christakis.

Maddi’s Fridge bu Lois Brandt Image by Lois Brandt

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, by Marlon Bundo with Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller Image by Chronicle Books

The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need From Grownups, by Erika Ckristakis Image by Erika Christakis

Ed Guzman, Senior communications manager

What It Takes: The Way to the White House Image by Open Road Integrated Media

What It Takes: The Way to the White House by Richard Ben Cramer

Before a recent work trip, I pulled Cramer’s book off my shelf at home in order to have something to read during quieter moments in Seattle. The book is a sprawling, engrossing account of the 1988 presidential election, with a focus on six candidates—George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, Gary Hart, Joe Biden, Dick Gephardt, and Michael Dukakis. Before there was Game Change, there was What It Takes, and I would argue Cramer not only did it first, he did it better.

The fact that President Bush died only weeks after I revisited this book is an eerie coincidence. But part of the reason I note it here is because, unlike most US presidents, Bush did not write a memoir. And thus, any penetrating accounts of him in book form are trickier to come by (the Washington Post wrote about this point about a week after he died). So in the wake of renewed interest in Bush’s life, I would recommend Cramer’s book, which captured a snapshot of Bush the Vice President (and the presidential candidate).

Kelsey Hamlin, Communications associate

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein Liveright Publishing

The Color of The Law by Richard Rothstein

This is an astounding and straight-forward book about housing segregation, a pretty huge front skipped over by the Civil Rights movement. The US narrative concluded it was all de facto segregation, thanks to private prejudices, but the federal government clearly had racially explicit incentives and programs for public housing. It’s a “yes and” type of situation, but the fact of the matter is the US government wasn’t held accountable for its unconstitutional housing decisions.

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, by Lindy West Image (license)

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

This book is:

1) By a local author and journalist

2) Hilarious and insanely relatable and

3) Feminist. It’s a quick read but hits so many nails on the head. The book goes through her journey of accepting her own body, the obstacles that prevented her from doing so, and the shared strain of so many women today.

Intern Nation: How to earn nothing and learn little in the brave new economy, by Ross Perlin Image (license)

Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy by Ross Perlin

This book starts off a little slow but really picks up the heat after one chapter. It analyzes all of the nuance behind unpaid and underpaid internships, and how they ultimately don’t follow any part of the law under labor standards and yet persist. He details how the system upholds itself through multiple facets. There was clearly a lot of reporting behind this book because he references so many peoples’ real stories but keeps them with pseudonyms, and he references so many bits of the law (like the differences of volunteering standards vs labor standards, individual court cases, and a really weird network of colleges and grants).

The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur Image (license)

Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Admittedly, I do prefer the latter of the two. It’s a bunch of short poems, some of which definitely made me cry. Trigger warning: rape. It’s raw and beautiful and disparaging and uplifting all at the same time.

Kelsey McComas, Development associate

Just Kids by Patti Smith Image by Harper Collins Publishers

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Just Kidsby the multi-talented artist/singer/author Patti Smith, chronicles her rise to fame through the New York art scene in the late 60’s and early 70’s. More important, the book is a tribute to her relationship with the late photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe, who pioneered the use of erotic imagery in photography. With brutal honesty and clarity she tells the story of her and Robert’s unique—and definitely unconventional—partnership, from being broke and struggling artists to Robert’s premature death from AIDS in 1989. I finished the novel in tears from the beauty of it all.

Don’t Call Us Dead, by Danez Smith Image by Gray Wolf Press

Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

Please keep it civil and constructive. Our editors reserve the right to monitor inappropriate comments and personal attacks.

Greta Thunberg’s speech

You should watch Greta Thunberg’s speech to the UN plenary session at COP24 if you haven’t seen it yet. Or if you have, watch it again. It is that powerful.

 

Shared sacrifices of the past show way forward on climate

Remembrance Day

Shared sacrifices of the past show way forward on climate

Remember the extraordinary resolve our society showed the last time it faced an existential threat

 

Their future is in our hands

Please pay attention…please get involved in this most important decision-time for this nation…please get everyone you know to do the same.
A plea from our kids:
And a plea from our brothers and sisters under the sea:

Bill McKibben: To slow down climate change, we need to work together

Confessions of a Monkeywrencher

Leonard Higgins explains why he broke the law to protect the climate

“My hope is that more and more of us, including this court, will see and feel the emergency and pull together to demand immediate changes to reduce our carbon emissions and the other responses needed to avoid the worst.”

Leonard Higgins gave the following testimony at his sentencing hearing after being convicted of trespass and property damage, in conjunction with an action on October 11, 2016, in which five activists, dubbed the Valve Turners, turned off all four major tar sands pipelines in the U.S.

Confessions of a Monkeywrencher

NOTE: Olympic Climate Action does not condone civil disobedience involving property destruction, and our publication of his courtroom statement is not meant as an endorsement of Higgins’ actions. Here is OCA’s policy on non-violence:

We use non-violent means to achieve change. We are committed to nonviolence, inspired by the spirit of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and other peaceful protesters before us. We believe that this approach, eschewing violence and property damage, offers the best means of creating lasting progress toward a just and healthy world.

A Plea for Initiative 1631

by volunteer Don Steinke, with the Washington State Sierra Club:

Can We Save Civilization As We Know It? A Plea for Initiative 1631

We’ve waited thirty years for Congress to act on global warming. We’ve waited enough. Some scholars are saying it is too late to save civilization as we know it, but I believe for the sake of our children we are obligated to do everything possible to save what we can. There is probably nothing more important you can do right now than to pass Initiative 1631.

Initiative 1631 will place a fee on large corporate polluters, such as refineries and power plants, and use the funds to invest in clean energy projects such as wind and solar while mitigating the impacts to low income households. We currently send billions of dollars out of Washington State each year for natural gas, coal, and oil produced in other states as well as Canada. Initiative 1631 will keep some of that money here to invest in local clean energy production.

Let’s get this initiative passed for jobs and clean energy!

Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary to dissolve our dependence on fuels that have driven so much human development, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that we should declare the causes which impel us to the dissolution.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, governments are instituted and corporations are chartered, deriving their powers from the Consent of the People.  –That whenever any Form of Government or Corporation becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to reorganize these institutions in such form as most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence dictates that institutions long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design to reduce the People to poverty, sickness, insecurity, and death, it is their right, their duty, to throw off such a system and provide new guards for their common security. The history of the present power structure is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of a tyranny of the Few over the Many. Let these facts be submitted:

  • Big Oil, Gas and Coal corporations have known for decades that their extractive industry, if left unchecked, would doom our common future with extreme weather, melting ice caps and glaciers, global sea level rise, ocean acidification, diminishing food and water supplies, forced migration, damaged physical and mental health, and a progressive unraveling of the very bonds of Civilization.
  • They have plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and captured our Governments.
  • They have continued to seek untrammeled Profit over the over the health and welfare of the People, endeavoring in every manner to manufacture doubt and mislead the People about the consequences of their activities, using their vast Wealth to skew the Body Politic into confusion, apathy, distraction, and even self-destructive support of their very Oppressors.
  • And they have known that those who will suffer first and most from these ravages will be those who are most innocent of the damage: the poor, the flora and fauna of our earth, and our future generations.

In every stage of these Oppressions we have petitioned for Redress, stating the facts well studied by our best minds and lately observed all over our Earth. Our repeated Petitions have, unfortunately, been answered by repeated injury and a turning away from these Truths so inconvenient to our Oppressors. A wielder of Power whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to hold sway over a free people.

It is against such Corporate and Governmental abuses that we, the People, join forces in common purpose to end the dirty-energy era and bring about a just transition to a future based on clean energy and economic opportunity for all rather than the few. We call for action now to complete this transition within a few decades at most, but we must start in earnest and with all due speed.  There is not a moment more to lose. We urge Governments of all States to say no to fossil fuel infrastructure, to deny permits, certifications, and other regulatory approvals for further extraction, transport, processing, and combustion of these dirty fuels, and to accelerate investment in renewable energy.

We therefore, in the Name and by Authority of the good People of this Earth, solemnly publish and declare our intention to become independent from fossil fuels and transition to clean, renewable energy. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the rectitude and necessity of our Purpose, we mutually pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

Originally published in 2004, with a new foreword and afterword, Solnit’s influential book shines a light into the darkness of our time. Bill McKibben says: “Literary and progressive America is in a Solnit moment.”

Using historical examples for perspective, Solnit weaves a sometimes metaphorical tale which reinforces the reader’s commitment to bring about change.

Here are a few choice quotations:

“It’s always too soon to go home.  And it’s always too soon to calculate effect.”

“Cause-and-effect assumes history marches forward, but history is not an army.  It is a crab scuttling sideways, a drip of soft water wearing away stone, an earthquake breaking centuries of tension.”

In the chapter, “A History of Shadows,” Solnit asks us to “imagine the world as a theater.  The acts of the powerful and the official occupy center stage,” but in the dark spaces outside the limelight, “ordinary people have the power to change the world. You can see the baffled, upset faces of the actors on stage when the streets become a stage or the unofficial appear among them to disrupt the planned program.”

It’s up to you

From Hi Times, Sequim High School Business English Class, Vol. II, No. 10, April 10, 1931, displayed at the Sequim Museum and Art Center. This class included Joe Rantz, who went on to win the Olympic 8-man rowing competition in Berlin in 1936, beating Hitler’s Nazi team in spite of illness and underhanded officiating. The class also included his high-school sweetheart, Joyce Simdars. Both are featured in the book The Boys in the Boat.

You

Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary to dissolve our dependence on fuels that have driven so much human development, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that we should declare the causes which impel us to the dissolution.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, governments are instituted and corporations are chartered, deriving their powers from the Consent of the People.  –That whenever any Form of Government or Corporation becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to reorganize these institutions in such form as most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence dictates that institutions long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design to reduce the People to poverty, sickness, insecurity, and death, it is their right, their duty, to throw off such a system and provide new guards for their common security. The history of the present power structure is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of a tyranny of the Few over the Many. Let these facts be submitted:

  • Big Oil, Gas and Coal corporations have known for decades that their extractive industry, if left unchecked, would doom our common future with extreme weather, melting ice caps and glaciers, global sea level rise, ocean acidification, diminishing food and water supplies, forced migration, damaged physical and mental health, and a progressive unraveling of the very bonds of Civilization.
  • They have plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and captured our Governments.
  • They have continued to seek untrammeled Profit over the over the health and welfare of the People, endeavoring in every manner to manufacture doubt and mislead the People about the consequences of their activities, using their vast Wealth to skew the Body Politic into confusion, apathy, distraction, and even self-destructive support of their very Oppressors.
  • And they have known that those who will suffer first and most from these ravages will be those who are most innocent of the damage: the poor, the flora and fauna of our earth, and our future generations.

In every stage of these Oppressions we have petitioned for Redress, stating the facts well studied by our best minds and lately observed all over our Earth. Our repeated Petitions have, unfortunately, been answered by repeated injury and a turning away from these Truths so inconvenient to our Oppressors. A wielder of Power whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to hold sway over a free people.

It is against such Corporate and Governmental abuses that we, the People, join forces in common purpose to end the dirty-energy era and bring about a just transition to a future based on clean energy and economic opportunity for all rather than the few. We call for action now to complete this transition within a few decades at most, but we must start in earnest and with all due speed.  There is not a moment more to lose. We urge Governments of all States to say no to fossil fuel infrastructure, to deny permits, certifications, and other regulatory approvals for further extraction, transport, processing, and combustion of these dirty fuels, and to accelerate investment in renewable energy.

We therefore, in the Name and by Authority of the good People of this Earth, solemnly publish and declare our intention to become independent from fossil fuels and transition to clean, renewable energy. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the rectitude and necessity of our Purpose, we mutually pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

On Climate Change, Interconnectedness, and Tolerating Risk

boltcutters

by Emily Johnston. Cross-posted from the Climate Defense Project.  The Climate Defense Project is part of the legal team providing support to Emily and the other valve turners.

______

A certain kind of anxious question comes almost every time we give a talk as “the Valve Turners”: Why would you take such a risk? What brought you to this? One interviewer was sure that I was leaving something out in my answers; he thought for sure some moment in my childhood had primed me for this.

I could tell it that way, if you wanted. It’s true that when I was twelve or thirteen, my brother told me about global warming. We lived on a low-lying island each summer, a place where the manmade causeway would sometimes be dramatically reclaimed by the sea in a big storm: swallowed by waves, just like that. The island was the place I loved most in all the world, and it disturbed me deeply to suddenly imagine it under the rising seas—my father’s vegetable garden, my mother’s flowers, the trees and their dappled light. It gave me an uncomfortable awareness of impermanence.

But the truth is that my love for the natural world often gave me that feeling of vulnerability: extinctions, factory farming, the clubbing of baby seals—all of these were wounds to my sense of connection and continuity. It’s a susceptibility I shared with a lot of sensitive kids. Which is to say, with a lot of kids—not to mention adults. Continue reading

On the Fifth Day, A poem about the presidency.

On the fifth day
the scientists who studied the rivers
were forbidden to speak
or to study the rivers.

The scientists who studied the air
were told not to speak of the air,
and the ones who worked for the farmers
were silenced,
and the ones who worked for the bees. Continue reading

Four laws of ecology

One of Barry Commoner’s lasting legacies is these four laws, written in The Closing Circle in 1971:
1.  Everything is connected to everything else. There is one ecosphere for all living organisms and what affects one, affects all.
2.  Everything must go somewhere. There is no “waste” in nature and there is no “away” to which things can be thrown.
3.  Nature knows best. Humankind has fashioned technology to improve upon nature, but such change in a natural system is, says Commoner, “likely to be detrimental to that system”
4.  There is no such thing as a free lunch. Exploitation of nature will inevitably involve the conversion of resources from useful to useless forms.

At the root

Earthjustice attorney Vawter “Buck” Parker, looking back over his 40-year career involving environmental battles on every subject, from wilderness to nuclear power to human health, realized that beneath the complexity was an underlying unity:

“The root cause is so often the same:  the desire of some to reap the benefits while imposing the costs on others.”

Crescent-seedling

OCA volunteer Daniel Walker shows the structure of the seedling’s roots

Hitchhiker’s Guide to Climate Change

An artistic tour-de-force by local family physician Ned Hammar (notes here):

hitchhikersguidetoclimatechangep2

Back

hitchhikersguidetoclimatechangep1

Front

We need a science of limits

“Human limitlessness is a fantasy. . . .  Our great need now is for sciences and technologies of limits. . . .  We are not likely to be granted another world to plunder in compensation for our pillage of this one.”  –Wendell Berry

Get the money out–yes on I-735

for-a-brief-moment

wamend.org/

facebook.com/WAmend.org

twitter.com/WAmend_I735

“Greatest dereliction in the history of the Republic”

The United States’ response to the climate crisis has been beyond pathetic. It is probably the greatest dereliction of civic responsibility in the history of the Republic.  James Gustave (“Gus”) Speth, former Chair of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality , New York Times 2015-05-15.

 

Let’s not waste our time on deniers

“Science is real and verifiable,  With the health of our families and our futures at stake, the American people expect us to act on the facts, not spend precious time and taxpayer money refuting manufactured uncertainties.”  EPA administrator Gina McCarthy speaking before the National Academies of Science, 4/28/14

First in, last out

“The art of communion with the earth we can relearn from the Indian. Thus a reverse dependence is established. Survival in the future will likely depend more on our learning from the Indian than the Indian’s learning from us. In some ultimate sense we need their mythic capacity for relating to this continent more than they need our capacity for mechanistic exploitation of the continent.”   — Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth

 

What price a grandchild?

What price a grandchild? And if not what price a grandchild, then what price a grandchild’s grandchild?  —UK chief scientific adviser, Sir Mark Walport, commenting on the IPCC Working Group II chapter of the 5th Assessment Report, on global impacts of climate change.

Start with love

This essay by Bruce Bode, minister of the Quimper Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend, explores the question, “How do I move forward when things look so bleak?”

“If we’re wrong…”

“The worst that can happen to everybody in the world if I’m wrong and Al Gore is wrong and scientists are wrong and the U.N. is wrong … is that we make a decision to have cleaner air, better health, more jobs and new energy independence. That’s what happens. But if the guys who say it isn’t happening are wrong, life as we know it on this Earth can literally end. . . .  So you’ve got a choice.”  –Secretary of State John Kerry speaking at a Congressional hearing

Let’s get down to work

From David W. Orr, Ecological Literacy:

It is easy…to throw up one’s hands and conclude with the Kentucky farmer that “you can’t get there from here.”  That conclusion, however, breeds self-fulfilling prophecies, fatalism, and resignation–in the face of an overwhelming need to act.  We also have the historical examples of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Alfred Schweitzer suggesting a different social dynamic, one that places less emphasis on confrontation, revolution, and slogans, and more on patience, courage, moral energy, humility, and nonpolarizing means of struggle.  And we have the wisdom of E.F. Schumacher’s admonition to avoid asking whether we will succeed or not and instead to “leave these perplexities behind us and get down to work.”

If not us, then who?

James Adcock left these thoughts on the Sightline blog (paraphrased):

http://daily.sightline.org/2013/05/07/harnessing-our-dark-optimism/

1) Even tiny little partial successes represent saving millions of human beings from death or untold suffering, including watching their children die of starvation, heat stroke, or lack of water.

2) The morality of one’s actions is not dependent on the morality, or lack thereof, of one’s neighbors. Living a moral life is NOT a sacrifice. Rather, it is a privilege.

3) SOMEONE has to speak the truth in a democracy. It’s not going to be the politicians, and it certainly hasn’t been the news media. SOMEONE has to speak the truth. How about if it be YOU?

Wendell Berry: It starts with love

“The world and our life in it are conditional gifts. We have the world to live in on the condition that we will take good care of it. And to take good care of it we have to know it. And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it.”  —Wendell Berry

Churchill on climate change

Photo Credit: zugaldia via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: zugaldia via Compfight cc

“In the face of the plainest warnings, we have now entered upon a period of danger. The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences. We are in it now…I see great reason for intense vigilance and exertion, but none whatever for panic or despair. If we can stand up to this…we may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including all we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age…One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and to run away from it. If you do, you will double the danger…Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that [in] a thousand years, men will still say: ‘This was their finest hour.’”

Anna Fahey, Channeling Churchill on Climate Change