Connecting Around the World…

This is what I am paying attention to right now:

1. Greta Thunberg is crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a sailboat as I write this. You can track her here: Live Tracker: Team Malizia and Greta Thunberg.

Greta has become one of my heroes. August 20th was the one year anniversary of her beginning the #schoolstrike4climate — just one girl who decided that she needed to do something. Now there are millions of us.

September 20th brings the next Global Climate Strike:

This September, millions of us will walk out of our workplaces and homes to join young climate strikers on the streets and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.
Our house is on fire — let’s act like it. We demand climate justice for everyone.

There is so much still to do…

2. The Amazon Rainforest is burning. I got into a discussion that is currently ongoing (if the other person responds to my latest tweet) over on Twitter regarding Finland urging the EU to boycott Brazilian beef.

I thought that just because I buy beef locally, this idea was out of reach for me to do anything about. Change.org explains Brazilian beef exports a little more here: Global Call to Action: Boycott Beef until the Amazon Fires End

Azaaz.org also has a way you can add your voice: Brazil: End the Amazon apocalypse! This is what their petition says:

As citizens from all over the world, we are horrified to see the rapid spike in Amazon rainforest destruction in recent months. The fate of humanity rests on the fate of the Amazon, and we urge you to do all you can to protect the forest, including passing laws to protect public forests and end illegal deforestation, and bringing international pressure to prevent further destruction of the Amazon.

3. And last — my own quiet life:

I just bought a house. It’s in a little town tucked away from the world up in Vermont. My newfound property ownership will play its role in creating who I am — how will I be a steward to the 0.38 acres I am now responsible for? How do I think globally and act locally? Where does my energy come from? How can I be more efficient knowing that winter is just around the corner?

I compost; I use reusable shopping bags (finally got enough to never have to use anything else — they’re everywhere!); I don’t buy plastic water bottles.

I am starting to think about my next car — can it be electric?

What will I be leaving for my child? What will the world be like for her? Will I be able to prepare our lives for the shifting weather patterns that are happening globally — how will this impact our food access? Water access? How will this impact my neighbors?

I don’t know.

I’m going to keep talking about it, though. Through dialogue change is made. If enough of us become aware, we can create a positive tipping point to counteract what’s coming…

One can only hope…

Responsibility is not convenient — it’s necessary.

Rethink. Refuse. Reduce. Reuse. Reimagine. Reforest. Rejoice. Rebel. Return.

Advertisements

The Changing Course of Human Civilization: a snapshot, July 7, 2019

Life as we know it is changing. Human activity is causing it. We can determine the course. We will, for good or worse. Three connections on this lovely summer morning about the ocean:You’ve heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by now, I’m thinking? It’s estimated that 46% of that plastic comes from fishing nets. Nets?

1. You’ve heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by now, I’m thinking? It’s estimated that 46% of that plastic comes from fishing nets. Nets?

Nets made out of plastic? How is this even a thing? I am a little stunned that plastic fishing nets aren’t completely banned for being quite possibly the stupidest thing on the entire planet — the only planet we’ve got, if you hadn’t noticed!

A lot of what Mike Hudema (this is what his Twitter page says about him: #Greenpeace#Energy Campaigner focusing on addressing the #climatecrisis, building #greenjobs & a #GreenNewDeal. Let’s join together and change the world!) posts is coming from the World Economic Forum

This is what shows up on their website when you wonder what they’re about:

We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.

(Our Mission: World Economic Forum)

Ah! There’s a connection — they are “bringing together people!” Their Mission page is actually quite extensive. Dig deeper gets you their key areas of focus:

As assumptions about growth models are overturned, the international balance of power continues to fray, and scientific and technological breakthroughs promise to transform economies and societies, the unique platform provided by the Forum helps leaders from all walks to life to prepare for exponentially disruptive change.

Today, we focus on three key strategic challenges:

We believe that potential for positive global change exists at the intersection of these three challenges, and that progress will come through bringing together leaders from all walks of life to forge common understanding, purpose and, where appropriate, action.

Pretty heavy stuff: the Fourth Industrial Revolution (I had no idea there were that many), finding global consensus (is that even possible without aliens arriving from outer space?), and the refugee crisis that just seems to have no end in sight.

2. I wanted to know more about fishing nets and came across this article in the Daily Mail called: Ocean cleanup effort drags 5-TON ‘ghost net’ of abandoned fishing gear from the Pacific ‘garbage patch’ as part of huge plastic haul.

3. Which brings me to these guys: Ocean Voyages Institute — they’re the ones picking up those ghost nets in the ocean. I applaud their efforts, but worry that it’s too little too late — they spent 25 days collecting 40 tons while every year 600,000 more tons of plastic gets added to our seas. We all must join in together, attacking this problem from every conceivable direction!

“Urgent action is needed at all levels: curtailing the manufacture of throwaway plastics, preventing plastic trash from entering the oceans, and enlisting the public, corporations, and the maritime industry in education, prevention, innovation and massive cleanup efforts. The question is, are we ready to make it a priority to protect 72 percent of the planet?”

Mary Crowley, Founder and Executive Director of OV Institute

This set of three connections was found along the same line — one led to the next which led to the next. In the course of an evening I followed the path — there were other things learned along the way: political, economic, societal things that all did their best to distract me from reaching the end of this particular thought.

I will keep doing my best to present to you the intersection of information that appears to me — hopefully you will find it useful, valuable, inspiring more than disheartening… and, please share the connections you are making — I’d like to know about them.

Responsibility is not convenient — it’s necessary.

Sources:

Ocean Voyages Institute About page: https://www.oceanvoyagesinstitute.org/about-ovi-2/

The Daily Mail — can’t honestly say I read this much at all; was more of a means to an end, really. I couldn’t find their mission statement.

Mike Hudema can be found on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikeHudema

The Changing Course of Human Civilization: a snapshot, July 5, 2019

I mentioned to a friend that I had been writing again. She already knew — she gets the posts in her email inbox. This opened up a conversation about what people are doing to address the Climate Emergency — everyone can contribute in their own way.

1. There is an organization called DearTomorrow. This is what they ask you to do:

Think of a person important in your life – your child, a friend, a family member or your future self. Imagine it is 2050 and they receive a message from you written today. Your message shares your thoughts about climate change and your promise to take action to ensure they have a safe and healthy world.

(Dear Tomorrow)

DearTomorrow

They are creating a digital and archive project to create a cultural shift:

Communication about climate change has had limited success in motivating and sustaining widespread interest and action. DearTomorrow makes climate change more personally relevant by connecting to the identities and values that people share across political and social boundaries: parental love, family and legacy. The project is designed with best practices in climate change communications, including narrative storytelling, visual imagery and trusted messengers.

Connections. Our world is just that — everything is connected to everything. There is a dystopia looming on the horizon — a place where our human connection to the Earth is broken and damaged, possibly beyond repair. I am not ready to concede to that potential doom.

2. My friend reminded me of this organization that connects children to the Earth:

Their mission is simple:

To inspire and empower children, families and communities to reconnect with and care for one another and the Earth through long-term nature mentoring.

(Earthwalk Vermont)

When was the last time you walked barefoot in the grass, sat in the woods and found your breath, let go of your worries and stress? Get outside!

3. I found this next one on Twitter, something that Sunrise Movement posted. If you haven’t heard of Sunrise Movement, well, you’re hearing about them now.

Sunrise_Primary_Yellow.png

WE ARE SUNRISE

Sunrise is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.

(Sunrise Movement)

They are pushing for a climate debate by the Democratic nominees for President of the United States. They are putting pressure on the DNC. This is how change happens. People are understanding that it’s time to realize, to wake up, to get ready. This is a thing that needs to be spoken about, shared with friends and family.

They need signatures: https://www.sunrisemovement.org/climate-debate

The post below created a ripple:

The ripple found Jon Favreau, someone I have never heard of, but who is apparently quite popular with 1.17 million followers on Twitter. Who knew? He gives some thought to a Climate Debate — that the candidates discussing one subject for two hours is something that we can learn from, that the climate emergency touches all other issues. More connections.

There you go — three things that resonated with me today. There are ripples happening all over the place, connecting us all. I will do my best to keep seeking out the positive and sharing what I find. I hope you do the same.

Responsibility is not convenient — it’s necessary.

Sources:
Dear Tomorrow’s Mission Statement: https://www.deartomorrow.org/about/mission/
EarthWalk Vermont’s Overview page: https://www.earthwalkvermont.org/overview
Sunrise Movement’s About page: https://www.sunrisemovement.org/about
Click here to learn about Crooked, the site where you can find Jon Favreau’s podcast: https://crooked.com/team/

 

The Changing Course of Human Civilization: a snapshot, July 4, 2019

The Fourth of July! A day for celebrating the birth of a nation. A nation full of complications and strife, of inspiration and hope, a nation that must at some point deign to really look at itself — internally, in the mirror, in a moment of reflection, and say enough is enough and break free of its addiction!

A cornucopia of addictions. Pick your poison — oil comes to mind, and with it plastic. Fossil fuels in their entirety. Waste, trash, and the throw-away society that was born of consumerism. Greed and avarice and a sense of entitlement by the ultra-wealthy. Convenience.

There is cause for celebration today — there is a growing understanding of a need to change — for the positive, for rediscovering our ability to live in balance and harmony with everything around us.

This documenting of our changing civilization that I’ve started — I am going to find a few things that connect for me and share them with you. Follow the links to the sources and seek out the knowledge yourself. I will do my best to source the information carefully — see the list at the bottom of the post to learn more about the source’s purpose and mission statements.

My hope is that you will find your own connections, perhaps share them with me and others. Together we can be a part of the sea change that we need — the radical transformation of the very systems of our existence…

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

~ From Shakespeare’s The Tempest

(https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/312800.html)

1. The sea surface temperature (SST) has just been updated and its analysis is painting a more grim outlook on the warming of the planet. The carbon budget could be smaller than we think it is (like someone’s hands we all know — yet another grim picture.)…

At the current rate of emissions, this would mean the 1.5C budget would be used up in 6-10 years – rather than 9-13 – potentially making the target even harder to achieve.

(CarbonBrief)

2. OPEC’s secretary-general has a new complaint, and this relates directly to the sea change that is taking place. More voices, louder voices, are needed.

OPEC’s secretary-general has complained of what he called “unscientific” attacks on the oil industry by climate change campaigners, calling them “perhaps the greatest threat to our industry going forward”.

(Agence France-Presse)

3. Then there is this — a suggestion to read in its entirety “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass. A piece of the fabric of our American history that ought to be honored on this of all days. I mean no disrespect to his words as I look at them through the lens of the Climate Emergency — there is such hypocrisy from so many in power in our day and age. Are we not better as a nation, as a people, than the person presently representing us in the highest office of the land?

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

~ Frederick Douglass

(The Nation)

Where is the connection between these three pieces of information? Sea surface temperatures; the threat of a populist movement in the eyes of the oil industry; the words of a man who had escaped slavery decrying the hypocrisy of a nation.

More facts to add fuel to the fire, to make those in power just a little more nervous, to call out their hypocritical acts of destruction upon this planet. My hope is that the sea change through which we suffer will create something rich and strange…

Responsibility is not convenient — it’s necessary.

Sources:
Agence France-Presse’s charter, editorial standards and best practices, and its principles of sourcing: https://www.afp.com/en/agency/charter
Carbon Brief’s About Us page: https://www.carbonbrief.org/about-us
The Nation’s About Us page: https://www.thenation.com/about-us-and-contact/

The Changing Course of Human Civilization: a snapshot, June 27, 2019

Three things I have noticed over the past few days — all related to human action and the world we live on. Should it be the world we live in? Or, perhaps, the world we live with? In any case, the first item is action on a societal scale — the destruction of an ecosystem. The next two items are single individuals taking action to address the Climate Emergency, to address the avarice and greed of the fossil fuel industry.

1. The Everglades is burning. A direct result of human beings changing the landscape to suit their needs. Apparently, what we want is not in harmony with the natural world in which we live.

This article scares the hell out of me: The Everglades Is on Fire, But It’s Actually Fine

The Everglades is not fine at all — this article from 2008 describes the systematic destruction of human encroachment: Why the Everglades is burning, and how we sucked it dry

 

2. David Gilmour sells his guitars and donates the proceeds to ClientEarth. These stories are from their website:

The villages killed by coal:

Emil Mirchev’s family has farmed the land he lives on, in Bulgaria, for generations. Now, a coal company plans to take that land over, creating a mine in place of kilometres of fertile land and decimating the local water supply. The landscape will change irreparably.

So with our support, Emil has taken legal action to fight the mine that would put a stop to the way of life of hundreds of people.

In Zloczew, Poland, 3,000 people are waiting to find out if they have to leave their homes as giant power plant Belchatow seeks a fresh source of coal. The Zloczew mine, if it goes ahead, would be the deepest mine ever constructed in Poland. Explosives would have to be used to blast away millions of tonnes of rock to get to the coal – deafening for the residents and devastating for the environment.

ClientEarth has launched a legal challenge to block the mine – with its long list of hazards, it should not have got the green light.

Inhabitants of Anargyroi, Western Macedonia, were evacuated in 2017. The mine on its doorstep caused a major landslide, leaving the villagers to jump in their cars and leave.

It’s a sad place to be, now. A beautiful community hall with portraits and paintings largely abandoned, cafés with outdoor ovens left empty, a rusted bus stop, scrawled farewell messages to the village painted on the walls. Just 20 people live here now, out of the original 500. They are still waiting for compensation.

 

3. Oscar-Winning actor, Mark Rylance, quits the Royal Shakespeare Company because of BP Oil sponsorship:

“I feel I must resign as I do not wish to be associated with BP any more than I would with an arms dealer, a tobacco salesmen or any company or individual who willfully destroys the lives of others alive and unborn. Nor do I believe would William Shakespeare.”

Do you notice things in our society that are so big that they seem impossible to fix? These things may appear impossible, but they are not. People like David Gilmour and Mark Rylance are showing us that if we all contribute what we can, together we can create a better course than the one our species has been on for far too long. But, it’s got to be now — this cannot wait any longer.

Now, I don’t have guitars that were played on Pink Floyd albums to sell. Or a job with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

I do have words, though. I can pick up the phone and call my elected representatives. I can go march. I can teach my child a better way. I can stop buying stupid crap that I don’t need. I can disseminate information and ideas.

What can you do? What are you doing? Tell me! Tell the people around you! Make some noise!

Responsibility is not convenient — it’s necessary.

 

The Changing Course of Human Civilization: a snapshot, June 24, 2019

Here are four separate news items that caught my attention over the past few days:

  1. The Indian city of Chennai with a population of 5 million is running out of water;
  2. Saint-Louis, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Senegal is steadily sinking;
  3. This one I came across today, but it’s from 2016: Lake Poopó is one of several worldwide that are vanishing because of human causes.

All a direct result of human actions.

But, the fourth news item made me feel like there could be hope for us yet!

Direct human action — that is exactly what is needed now: We are unstoppable, another world is possible!

Ende Gelände

1000s of Climate Activists Block German Coal Mining Operation

Kathrin Henneberger: “More than 6,000 climate activists from across Europe were here in the Rhineland this weekend. We shut down the entire Rhineland region’s lignite production. … We are fighting for the immediate stop of coal production, but we have to do a lot more. We demand a different economic system, one that is socially fair and respects our planet’s limits.”

It’s time for change! We are in the midst of it — the literal fight of our lives!

A Reflection on Garbage Bags and the Crap We Put in Them.

Garbage bags. Made of plastic.

Make less garbage, use less plastic.

Make less garbage. Make less waste.

Waste less by buying less.

It’s simple logic.

We may discover, upon reflection, that on a deeper level our minds will begin to consider this:

What is it, exactly, that we are throwing away? And what are we buying? And is it all really necessary?

It’s not a bad place to start if we want to make a difference.

Responsibility is not convenient — it’s necessary.

Reduce. Refuse. Reexamine. Realize. Rethink.