Category Archives: Inspiration

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

On Climate Change, Interconnectedness, and Tolerating Risk


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.”


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):





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