Is it True?

This is a terrific post about how people deal with climate change (or don’t).

Stargazing Futures

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We have just over 10 years to avoid a climate disaster that will destroy humanity! That’s what they say? Who exactly is ‘they?’ Are they correct? And do we care? Well, I care. But does that even matter, except to me?

The topic of a warming world has been on our collective radar for decades. I won’t bore you with the details because you know them for yourself. The ‘They, ‘ the scientific climate researchers, have released their measured analysis of the state of our world and why it looks bad for life. The media is full of opinions, detailed statistical reports, proven theories and estimated trajectories of our survival or annihilation if we do or don’t do something. Indeed, I am currently listening to yet another hysterical report on the radio as these words tumble out. I read scary stuff every day. And most of us have been told by…

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Toxic

This is a very apt analogy of our President, our Congress, and us. Thank you, Teri.

Teri Carter's Library

At the park, I am putting my dog in the car after a long walk when I hear him — “Stop it,” he yells. “Sit down, I said sit! Sit, sit, sit. Knock it the hell off goddammit!” — and I turn to see the elderly man I passed half a mile ago on the trail, yanking his dog’s leash with one hand while beating him with the other.

The dog yelps and cries, cowering with each anticipated blow. I start toward them and that’s when I spot her, the man’s wife, continuing on down the trail as though nothing is happening.

“Mister, stop!” I say, waving my arms, trying to pull his attention my way. “My god, what are you doing, stop, you’re hurting your dog, please stop.” But he turns his back to me and keeps at it, his dog now upside down on the ground, and I…

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Last Chance

 

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CLIMATE CHANGE, IF WE CONTINUE TO IGNORE IT, WILL LEAD TO OUR EXTINCTION.

Did anybody miss that? Let me say it again.

CLIMATE CHANGE, IF WE CONTINUE TO IGNORE IT, WILL LEAD TO OUR EXTINCTION.

There is no greater threat to humanity. Not ISIS. Not illegal immigrants. Not even delusional, despotic Presidents.

None of them are a match for Mother Nature.

If you’re still a Denier, well, pardon me but, pull your head out. This is real, it is urgent, and denying it won’t keep it away.

It’s not a Democratic issue, a Republican issue, or even an American issue. It is a human issue, and it demands all our attention.

If we fail to give it, we’re done for. Period.

 

Are you all with me? Good, listen up:

Last week, a resolution was introduced to Congress declaring a Climate Change Emergency. The resolution, H.Con.Res.52, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders, and Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Earl Blumenauer, and co-sponsored by several other Representatives reads, in part,

Expressing the sense of Congress that there is a climate emergency which demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address its consequences and causes.

The resolution lays out several reasons for this urgency. Here’s just a few of them:

“…in 2018, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that the Earth could warm 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels as early as 2030;

“…the climatic changes resulting from global warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, including changes resulting from global warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, are projected to result in irreversible, catastrophic changes to public health, livelihoods, quality of life, food security, water supplies, human security, and economic growth;

“…in 2019, the United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services found that human-induced climate change is pushing the planet toward the sixth mass species extinction and thus threatening the food security, water supply, and the wellbeing of billions of people;

 
“…even with global warming up to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, the planet is projected to experience—
(1) a significant rise in sea levels;
(2) extraordinary loss of biodiversity; and
(3) intensifying droughts, prodigious floods, devastating wildfires, and other extreme weather events;

 
“…in the United States, massive, comprehensive, and urgent governmental action is required immediately to achieve the transitions of those systems in response to the severe existing and projected economic, social, public health, and national security threats posed by the climate crisis;

 
“…the massive scope and scale of action necessary to stabilize the climate will require unprecedented levels of public awareness, engagement, and deliberation to develop and implement effective, just, and equitable policies to address the climate crisis…”

There’s plenty more. Google climate emergency resolution to read the rest.

You get the picture? We’re in deep you-know-what. And it’s gonna take a large-scale course correction to avoid a total catastrophe that wipes us clean off the face of the earth.

It’s that serious, friends. It needs our attention right now.

So, what can I do?, you ask. Glad you asked.

One thing you can do is educate yourself on the issue. I know, it’s boring as hell to read about, but we need to have a good idea of what we’re up against. https://www.acciona.com/climate-change/ is an excellent website where you can learn about the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as ways to cope with and adapt to it.

Recycle more, use less energy, plant a tree or two, talk to your friends about it, get everyone’s mind on climate change. Because it’s gonna take all of us.

Support this resolution. Tell your folks in Congress to support it. No matter what The Man in the Orange Head thinks, climate change is the real thing, and nothing less than our survival as a species depends on how we deal with it.

Oh, and don’t do it for me. Do it for the children. They’re going to need someplace to live.

Looking for Feathers

 

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I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.

Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

 

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

Howard Zinn

 

That was all a man needed: hope. It was lack of hope that discouraged a man.

— Charles Bukowski

 

It’s real easy for someone with depression, like myself, who tends to view the world through a rather dark lens to begin with, to abandon all hope in the future when looking at the state of things in the present.

The news is constantly discouraging, courtesy and manners have all but vanished from society, and kindness, compassion and morals are well on their way to doing the same thing.

I keep looking for reasons to hope, to believe in a brighter day on the horizon but, lately, despair takes up more head and heart space.

I guess it’s partly because, the older I get, the less faith I have in people. I’ve seen more cases of them giving in to their baser instincts, not their better natures. And the difference is in who they serve: themselves, or others.

Also, giving up hope is just easier; I don’t have to do anything. Hope takes work. If you’re gonna hope, you’ve got to care. And if you’re gonna care, you have to actively engage.

And that’s where the old blood, sweat and tears come in. Nelson Mandela spoke of “one’s feet moving forward,”; Howard Zinn talked about “the energy to act.” They knew what I still need to learn: hope isn’t a state of thinking or feeling.

It’s a state of doing. If I don’t feel hope, I just have to make some. People through the whole course of history have done so, when facing the most impossible circumstances. I owe it to them to do the same.

So, wish me luck. I need, and want, to find hope soon. And, I have a suspicion, a lot of us do.

 

 

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.

Emily Dickinson

The Big. Six. Ohhhh!

 

The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

“Time”, Pink Floyd

 

When I was a kid, I thought 60 was old.

As I turn 60 today, I still think so.

Sixty. It just sounds old to me. It means I’m now officially an Old Man..

And no B.S. about “60 is the new 40.” It’s the same old 60, if you ask me.

This wasn’t supposed to happen to me already, for corn’s sake, as Fred Mertz used to say.

I’m hiring a private detective to track down where all the previous years went. I’ve done the math over and over, and get the same answer. Something is definitely amiss here.

On the bright side, I’m eligible now for lots of discounts.

 

I don’t know; turning 40 and 50 didn’t seem to bother me as much as this does. Maybe I’m more worried about my future: A, how much longer will it be and B, what kind of health will I be in?

Before I go any farther, I acknowledge all you geezers out there who left 60 in your rearview mirror some time ago, laughing at my lamentations over turning “just 60.”

Well, I’m sorry, but I’ve never been here before, and it’s a little scary. And, given my resting state, somewhat depressing.

Despite said depression, though, I must say that I’m glad to still be around. Most days, anyway. The bad days ain’t all gone, but they are fewer. For now, at least.

And, for that, I’m grateful.

 

I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things by now but, honestly, I’m not so sure what, if anything, that would be. In some ways, I feel like I’m still trying to learn how to be a man. Even at 60.

(The word man has always felt awkward to me, anyway. I still think of myself as some goofy kid a lot of the time.)

I realize I still have much to learn about love, respect, compassion, forgiveness, patience, good health, and a few other things. I guess the lessons never end.

I guess they’re not supposed to. I used to think, by the time I reached 60, I’d finally have things figured out. Turns out, not even close; I feel about as clueless now as I ever did. Must be a really slow learner.

So, onward I go, my hair more gray and less voluminous, my back a little more bent, my feet garbed in the age-appropriate socks and sandals. I’ve got my health, my job, my stunning good looks (Ha!), my friends and family, my lovely wife of now 35 years, and our two spoiled rotten cats, Izzy and Lizzy. Life is pretty good for this Old Man.

Well, gotta go. I got an early bird dinner to get to. Outta my way, whippersnapper!