Archive

Posts Tagged ‘environment’

wild

Last Friday evening, my family and I did something we never do: We sat down and watched a movie together.

I seldom watch TV and movies anymore, because I can now hear–and mostly reject–the slew of stories whispering cacophonous from behind any roaring “main” one. I chose to watch this one because I’m bombarded by its music–thanks, neighbors!–many evenings, and wanted to know the context for its songs.

The movie inspired my seven-year-old to ask two beautiful questions, which came back to me as I rewatched it alone this morning. I smiled and thought that I’d like to share those questions, and how I answered them. Read more…

acceptance

May 18, 2017 Comments off

“The mole, I’m not
so worried about,”
said the nurse practitioner,
peering at me over the rims
of her eyeglasses. “It’s
the anxiety that
concerns me.”

“I didn’t say anything
about anxiety,” I
pointed out.

“Oh, honey,
you didn’t
have to.”

“This is half as bad
as it was even a
month ago,”
I replied.

We talked
for fifteen minutes.

At one point,
I said, “the best thing
was accepting, really
accepting, that the world
could be very, very grim
for my children, no matter
what I do or say–“

“We don’t know that
it will be!”
she cautioned.

“Oh, I know. I’ve been
reading Arundhati Roy
and Rebecca Solnit, and,
well, dozens of other authors
just this year. There’s hope in
uncertainty, here.”

She nodded.

“What I mean is:
I was ragged from figuring
out what I could do, and how
I could do it, to show that citizens
must not wait for politicians to do
the right thing environmentally.
What finally freed me
from that churn
was seeing that …
if the outcome does end up
being very, very grim,
it will be all the more important
for me to have left my sons
with tons and tons of love
to sustain them through
hardships I can’t
change.
They’ll need
the memory
of all
that
love
to get by,
you know?
So I’ll keep
reading, and I’ll
keep showing up,
where I think it’ll help,
but I’m not arguing anymore,
or fretting about the right words,
or seeking the magic combination
that’ll suddenly engage
the disengaged,
but mostly,
mostly …
I’ll love
on
my
sons.”

When I left
the room moments later,
she told me, “You’re
a lovely woman.”

“Ha!” I wanted to say.
“You should talk to
some of my now-
former friends.”

Instead,
I accepted her words,
and her hug,
too

Mighty

When I was little, my mom took me to a few town halls and political rallies. I remember some of those experiences–especially meeting Representative Peter DeFazio, who later wrote me a letter!–fondly.

Yesterday, I took my seven-year-old, Li’l D to his first rally. We met up with a couple thousand other Angelenos opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

protect-sign

“Why are they even protesting?” asked a couple of young men who passed us as we walked toward the rally. “Isn’t it over?”

I shook my head and said, “No. The Army Core of Engineers denied easement, but DAPL proceeds. They’re fighting against the ruling and still very much on the ground in Standing Rock.”

“Damn,” murmured one.

“Yep,” I said, as Li’l D and I parted ways with them.

I’ve told Li’l D that there are hundreds of oil pipelines crossing portions of the U.S. Apart from transporting fossil fuels whose extraction contributes to climate change, they break and explode often, resulting in pollution, injury, and even death. While the rally was about one pipeline, I explained, it was also about all pipelines, fossil fuels, rights of indigenous peoples, and the rights of children who deserve better from adults. (He already knows about the inspiring Our Children’s Trust federal climate lawsuit, which can’t proceed quickly enough for me!)

Li’l D made his own signs, of which he was proud. He held them up for five or ten minutes before handing them to me. (Of course!)

d-signs

While he quickly grew bored, I was invigorated by the palpable love, passion, and commitment of the people around me.

I wrote last week about some of the many ways individuals can express their loving might. You are mighty, I concluded.

Marching yesterday, I felt in ways I can’t begin to articulate that our individual might is eclipsed by something else: Our might.

We are far mightier than we realize.

We are mighty.

 

Pennies together

A month ago, a dino I know talked me into joining Nano Poblano, her November daily blog post challege.

“No problemo!” I told her around roughly a half-dozen birthday beers. “I could write eight posts a day with everything I’m learning now!”

It seemed like a great idea, because beer.

image

Soon after starting the challenge, I discovered that writing about politics every day is exhausting.

It’s especially exhausting when you’re reading about all the very terrible things you never realized were being done with your tax dollars and votes.

I was wiped out by mid-month, so I started writing shorter posts. It was an improvement, but I was still tired.

By the end of the month, I was so very ready to be done … but I was grateful for the challenge all the same.

By forcing myself to write every day, I had to face a lot of questions and issues I might not have faced otherwise.

I had to face burnout, and to face the implications of burnout.

Something really, really good came from that: I stopped trying to obtain perfection. I sought “good enough” instead.

Seeking good-enough in my posts helped me understand the same approach is invaluable as a citizen approaching political change: There will never be the perfect moment or perfect information, so I must begin by doing what I can now!

I understand much of what’s led us to here and now. I understand you and I must band together now if we are to stop potentially cataclysmic climate change accelerating right now.

I don’t have time to keep reading depressing tomes on everything done wrong to date.

image

Depressing tomes read as of mid-November

I must begin pursuing solutions that might improve the future, since every second I waste stewing over what’s done is a second I’ve lost to change what’s ahead.

I can’t wait for perfect solutions. None of us can.

We must do the best we can with what we have, and trust we’ll gain more understanding and tools as we go.

I’m casting my pennies–my ideas, my hopes, my passion–into a save-the-world fund.

My pennies won’t go very far alone, but you know what? If we each cast in a few pennies, there’s no telling what we might buy together.

So, please: start casting in your pennies, even the ones that don’t look very shiny at first glance. Maybe shiny isn’t what we need, after all.

As our pennies amass, take stock of the totality of what we’re gathering and know: alone we can do a little, but together, we can and will change the world.

Thanks to Nano Poblano, coming posts on Learning to Speak Politics will be focused on seeking and building solutions.

Enough ruminating. There’s work to do!

image

The Human Party

I averaged about three epiphanies a day in college, or so you’d think if you read my journals from that era.

Since then, I’d say I’ve averaged about, oh, zero epiphanies annually. I’ve had one the last few days, and I need to write about it pronto.*

The temperature in the North Pole is 36 degrees higher than normal for this time of year. Some portion of that might be random, but a great deal of it is not: we humans are rapidly making our world less habitable.

We are destroying the planet that is essential to our children having any kind of hope for the future. We’ve expected Other People and Politicians on Boards Somewhere to solve this, letting a huge problem take up a smaller and smaller fraction of our individual attention spans.

Right now, U.S. citizens are up in arms with each other over the results of a presidential election. We’re drawing all kinds of unreasonable conclusions based on corporate-sponsored news and mistaking those conclusions for truth, all while dehumanizing the very real, very hurting people all around us.

Here’s the thing. To the earth, there’s a single party: the Human Party. Each and every member of this party is bound together unequivocally, and all of us are equally bound to this planet and her destiny.

We have precious little time to save this world, all of us together. We must take each step we can, not as members of any political party, but as members of the Human Party. We must do this for our kids.

When we band together to do this, relinquishing the extinction-level myth that someone somewhere else is taking care of things, many other ills will be resolved.

See, we’re all victims of corporate globalism and neoliberalism, a devastating economic system that destroys earth and people alike for the profit of a few.

The sooner we see that, learning to embrace and fight for each other, the better our children’s prospects.

In no particular order, here are some steps you and I can start taking right now:

  • Buy local. Get offline, skipping all the waste that goes into powering enormous fulfillment centers and having all those individual packages shipped to you with lots of needless padding, at great ecological expense.
  • Go to farmers markets. Buy foods that didn’t guzzle loads of gas to reach you, grown by local farmers who value your support. Look for gifts and household items at the market, where you might find soap, candles, clothing, lotions, scents, and bunches of other items brought directly to you without any money lost to lots of middlemen.
  • Buy less. Instead of buying gifts for every holiday and occasion, offer a few hours of your undivided attention. Seek out local adventures to share. Ask your loved ones where you could donate some time, money, or love in their honor. Arrange with friends to donate to their favorite charities instead of buying objects.
  • Buy used. Go to swap meets. Add a little quirk to your home decor.
  • Drive less. Take shorter trips, group your trips, and travel with friends when you can. Telecommute if you can, and talk to your employer about the benefits–to local infrastructure, to the environment, to you and your family–of telecommuting if it’s not yet permitted. (I’ll be writing some letters shortly; please let me know if you’d like to work with me on these.)
  • Make your own bath, beauty, and cleaning products.
  • Call, email, mail, and tell your legislators in person that they must–for your children!–take major steps to protect the environment, and that you’ll work hard to see them not re-elected if they don’t.
  • Reuse as often as you can. If you don’t know how you can reuse something, store items in an “opportunity box” for when you can poke around online for ideas.
  • Grow some spices and veggies, in your yard or in planters.
  • Donate what you can’t use. Share what you can to limit waste.
  • Compost. Recycle.
  • Unplug your appliances when you’re not using them.
  • Take shorter showers and shower less frequently.
  • Buy fewer packaged foods. Be kind to planet and self; forego fast food as often as possible, packing snacks if you must.
  • Drink less coffee. When you do drink coffee, drink fair trade coffee.
  • Talk to your friends about what you’re doing and why. Challenge each other to find new ways to conserve the planet that sustains us.
  • Find pleasure not in objects but here and now, in each other.
  • Favor care and community over convenience. Come together, right now. It’s our kids’ only hope.

I’m no expert. I’m simply a parent who understands an increasingly urgent need to fight for our kids. I welcome your links, your ideas, your encouragement, and your outpourings of love for your fellow Human Party members. Please share.

We can’t expect anyone else to save us anymore.

We must work together now to save each other.

these boys

I’m in it for my kids, and yours

* Why pronto over perfect? Recently I’ve been reading about “agile” projects,
or projects begun early that take clearer form as you go,
which means improved ability to respond to new data,
and–often–better resolutions than when you
come up with a perfect in principle
(but, oops, actually unworkable)
plan.

 

God is in this place

I once
read a book
called God Was in
This Place & I; i
Did Not Know

I’ve forgotten
the book itself,
but the title is near
my heart
always
now

Because I know
where God is
right now

Long before
I began to notice,
corporations have
destroyed the earth
with the blessing and
support of my country’s
government

To discover the
depths of this, and
how truly it has been a
bipartisan endeavor,
has crushed me

35 years ago,
Exxon was aware
of climate change, but
worked to suppress
awareness, because
that awareness
spread wide
would harm
its profits

Today, as elected
Democrats give lip
service to the harms
of climate change, the
Democratic U.S.
president continues
to approve new oil pipelines
while issuing thousands
of fracking permits

If he and his
believe in climate change,
it is irrelevant; for their acts,
simply
do not
show
it

Words
are cheap;
actions,
revealing,
damning
(all
of
us)

In
this
place,
where
Earth
may
soon
fail
us
(for
we
have
failed
Her),
we
have
little
time

Where,
then, is
hope?

Where,
then, is
God?

At Standing Rock,
in North Dakota,
Sioux people
have risen
against an
oil pipeline,
the Dakota
Access
Pipeline

They have arisen
because they
deserve to
survive”
(free from
colonialism)
and this
pipeline,
routed
away from
concerned
Bismarck
citizens
who feared
for their water
and through
Native lands
granted by
treaty,
is
lethal

As the
Standing Rock
Sioux act to
protect
themselves,
they protect
Earth, water,
you, me, our
children,
both
blocking
construction
and
saying, to
corporation,
to country,
and the world,
“Our lives,
our planet,
should not
be valued
less than
the profits
of oil
men”

When my
heart turns
to Standing Rock,
it is full; goosebumps
ripple up and down me,
as I feel the pull of a
tide I can explain
no other way than
to call it God

As I think how long I
have barely believed
in God, I understand
I misunderstood
how we are all
connected, be we
in Long Beach or
North Dakota or
Yemen or
Somalia or
Peru

She who stands
for one, stands for
all; she who stands
against Earth’s
destruction for profit
stands for us all

In this time
where it so hard
for me to find hope,
I need only think of
Standing Rock and
know, truly, deeply,
through my soul,
there is yet
hope

The sooner
people everywhere
see and stand with
the Standing Rock Sioux,
the sooner people
everywhere will
stand a chance

Because God
is at Standing Rock,
beckoning us to
hear-see-feel this

God is in this place

God is Standing Rock

10 Ways You Can Help the Standing Rock Sioux Fight the Dakota Access Pipeline

I leave to you a world

In nineteen years of blogging encompassing several teenage years, I’ve written surprisingly few angsty poems.

Tonight, gazing at my infant son and mulling over many news stories reflected in this depressing XKCD comic on climate change, I decided I was overdue space for one such (warranted) poem.

I dedicate this to my son and all the children–current and future–to whom older generations leave mere echoes of the natural majesty we hungrily eroded.

I leave to you a world

I leave to you a world
Less full of nature’s magnificence,
For my generation and its forebears
Favored wealth above all else
(Including you),
Sacrificing the intangible future–
Your future–
For its immediate tangible gains

I leave to you a world
Where provable fact is
Dismissed as “opinion”
Because it’s easier to change one’s mind
Than try to change
The world Read more…

%d bloggers like this: