13 January 2019

There Are So Many Things We Can Be Doing!

I think I'm just going to make a list today. I haven't offered this sort of thing in a long time, but we attended a meeting the other night where lots of ideas for what a nearby city (and the capital city of my province in Canada) can do about the climate crisis. I'll add in some of my own ideas.

Change now, as philosopher Krishnamurti taught. Picture … dream … envision how the world needs to be: free of war, terrorism, violence, cruelty and slaughter. A world free of fossil fuels, a “golden age” of zero-carbon renewable energy, will be safer, cleaner, kinder, healthier, more equitable, and more peaceful. It’s a beautiful vision, isn’t it?

For the sake of the children – of all species – find the strength, the courage and the compassion to truly feel the pain of the climate crisis. Next, lament. And then, get active. Remember that the most vulnerable are being impacted worst and first, but we are all impacted. People around the world are losing their lives or their loved ones, their livelihoods, their food security and water sources, their homes and entire homelands, in extreme weather events caused or exacerbated by climate chaos. We also need to understand this from the perspective of indigenous people, who have nowhere to move to because they are their land.

If you and your family are not already eating a plant-based diet, go vegan now, for the sake of your own health and the health of the planet. It’s the quickest – and most significant – way to lower your greenhouse gas emissions. Further, how can we create peaceful transformation in a world filled with slaughter and cruelty?

The Burning Age is over. Support a carbon fee and any other strategy that will encourage people to switch their investment money to zero-carbon, non-combustion renewable energy. Work towards a combustion-free society by transitioning away from the internal combustion engine.

Call for your government to keep its pledge to end taxpayer subsidies to fossil fuel industries. According to the International Monetary Fund, every year governments around the world give $5.3 trillion in direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuel corporations. Just think how much faster we’ll make the transition to zero-carbon, non-combustion energy when all that money is switched to renewables.

Make a plan for reducing your family’s carbon footprint as rapidly as possible. Invest in the future by ensuring that your investments are ethical and green. Divest from fossil fuels. Vote with your dollars. Invest in a heat pump for your home to lower your heating bill. If you need to drive, save up to purchase a hybrid or electric vehicle. Figure how far you and your family are willing to walk, bicycle, take public transit, car share, etc., and set up systems to help you use these greener modes of transportation more often. Be willing to make changes, compromises, even sacrifices for the sake of the future.

Support fair elections and electoral reform so that governments are made up of elected officials representing all voices, not just those beholden to fossil fuel industries.

Learn the basic science of the unprecedented crime of greenhouse gas pollution and the anthropogenic (human-caused) climate and oceans crisis it has led to. Then learn why climate disruption and the trifecta of ocean heating, ocean acidification, and ocean de-oxygenation represent an urgent emergency. Understand that the climate change denial campaign is deliberate and extremely well funded. They can sound convincing, but don’t be fooled. Do your own research, check your sources, and stay strong.

The greatest immediate threat is food and water insecurity. After all, we have evolved over the last 10,000 years into a species dependent on agriculture – and agriculture is dependent upon a stable climate, which we’ve had globally for the last 10,000 years – until now. Encourage ecological and regenerative agricultural practices and the implementation of permaculture principles. Mulch your garden. Plant trees. Lend support (time, money, energy, expertise) to food-growing programs for children and schools. We can’t grow food overnight; nor can we learn to grow food overnight. Be a champion for a different kind of education … one that will help create the world we need.

Permaculture the heck out of your community. Turn public spaces and boulevards into food forests. Build food security, food sovereignty, food resilience. (If climate chaos is going to lead to worldwide hunger, at least we'll be among the last to go.)

Get your local municipal government/s to declare a climate change emergency. (The Climate Mobilization can offer guidance with this.)

Protest outside of any bank that is investing in global destruction. Divest while you're at it, and put your money into a community bank or credit union.

Pull off some "intersactions." Take your protest signs to the busiest intersection in your community and keep crossing the road when the walk sign is on walking around in a square. Get it? High visibility. Not illegal. Drivers won't be turned off because you're not blocking traffic.

Remember to make your planning meetings and your public actions inclusive (invite others who might not normally participate) and accessible (for example, to people with disabilities, to parents with small children). 

Finally, do your spiritual work – pray, meditate, dance, go for walks, whatever – but don’t stop there! Remember, we all have at least a little bit of time, money, energy and/or expertise to share.

 And hey, if none of these actions feels right to you, you can always bake muffins for those on the front lines of saving the world. Even protestors have to eat!

Adapted from Henry Van Dyke

06 January 2019

I'm Becoming More and More Concerned About the State of Things

The Peruvian spectacled bear is facing an uncertain future
Here's a new year's compilation of what's got me feeling more and more worried these days.

We tried to watch Paddington the other night. You know, the live action movie about a sweet little talking bear from Darkest Peru? (It's supposed to be a spectacled bear, known for being playful and mischievous.) For some reason, one of the characters is a evil taxidermist (played by Nicole Kidman) who is not content with the animals she has already stuffed. We might have made it through her nasty scenes except that she suddenly let loose with a not-well-veiled screed against immigrants and refugees. We turned it off immediately, but I was shaken. That sort of manipulative mental violence is pretty insidious. :-(

Next, my hubby put together a film this week showing how little the latest climate talks (in Katovice, Poland) achieved — and then they lied about it, with the media lapping it up. It's bad enough that they haven't accomplished much of anything in 24 years of meetings, but to be deceptive about it, as well? That takes the cake. Perhaps we could blame it on their lack of sleep. Anyway, here's the movie. It's called Life Condemned: The Intolerable Evil Corporate Carbon Corruption. Says it all, eh? :-(

Next, do democratic governments around the world seem to be more and more at the beck and call of fossil fuel corporations? Here in British Columbia, Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted (they're not so mounted anymore) Police have warned that they're moving in soon to forcibly remove a First Nations community that has barred a natural gas pipeline from crossing its unceded territory. This makes me feel sick to my stomach. Sick in my heart. Sick for all the children, and for all that is sacred, healthy and beautiful in the world. :-(

Where is the love? Where is the care and concern? Where are the parents willing to make sacrifices for their kids? Where is any government willing to stand up for the people against Big Money and Big Oil? I never imagined it would play out so blatantly ... so cruelly ... right before our eyes. :-(

30 December 2018

We are the "Architects of the Future"

Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) was an architect, writer, systems theorist, designer, inventor and futurist. He once said, “We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.”

People, at least in my circles, seem to be finally talking about the climate crisis. But there still aren't many who are actually taking some action — action that will create the future. 

So, in the interests of the new year, and new year's resolutions, here is a short list of actions that you can take to do your part in 2019 to help safeguard the future.

1. Create Political Will
  • write a letter 
  • sign a petition
  • send an email or a fax
  • make a phone call
  • visit your elected officials, at all levels, and ask them what they're doing about climate change
  • vote in the candidates who understand climate change and who include viable climate change solutions in their campaign
  • talk to others about how they can create political will
2.  Make the Following Demands of Your Elected Officials
  • declare the climate change emergency (if London, England can do it, then your municipality can, too)
  • end fossil fuel subsidies
3. Meet with Like-Minded and Like-Hearted Members of Your Community
  • it's important (for our mental health) that we learn to mourn and lament all the sadness and "climate grief" surrounding this greatest crime ever against humanity
  • cry, laugh, and come up with solutions for local resilience together over tea
  • support a local coffee shop or library as a meeting place
4.  Set an Example for Others
  • choose a plant-based (lower greenhouse gas-emitting) diet; go vegan (and share vegan foods with your friends and family)
  • grow some of your own food using no-till, no synthetic chemical methods
  • be an early adopter of new (lower/zero carbon) technologies, if possible (and if not, learn about them so you can promote them in your community)
  • be seen with your low/zero-carbon technologies (renewable energy, transportation ... like walking!)
5. Seek Out Courageous and Compassionate Ways to Make the Conversion to Zero Carbon
  • there are so many possible (viable) solutions to the climate crisis — and we need them all ("clean coal" is not viable)
  • spend some time to do some research; become passionate about some of the solutions
  • do this for all the children, of all species
  • ignore the deniers — or, if you've done enough research, stand up to them (but, be forewarned, it's time-consuming)
After all, as Peter Drucker says, "The best way to predict the future is to create it." And it's our future to create.

 Plant something in 2019!

23 December 2018

A One-Handed Post About All Hands on Deck

Have you ever heard that expression, "Be careful what you wish for, for you might get it"? Well, I got what I made the mistake of "wishing for" ... I said too often that I was busier than a one-armed paper hanger (an old saying of my dad's), and that I needed a break from all the busyness.

I fell this past Thursday morning and broke my wrist — on my non dominant side, luckily. So today's post is being brought to you (slowly) by my right hand, while the left one looks on forlornly from its cast.

Two hands are definitely better than one, especially as holiday preparations approach (I've bowed out of Christmas festivities for this year) and as a huge writing deadline looms (hunt and peck typing is so slow). It's incredible how helpful that second hand is!

But it's got me thinking of what we could accomplish on the climate front if we put our 15 billion hands together.

Actor and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn once said, 
"As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others." 
So that still leaves us with billions of hands that could and should be helping to safeguard the future for those who aren't "old hands" yet.

Which reminds me of another important quote when it comes to climate change leadership. 
"It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong." — Thomas Sowell (an economist whose views I don't always appreciate)
Anyway, my holiday wish for you this year is that you have / find /take a few moments to truly appreciate the strength and the power of your two hands ... to wrap around loved ones, to help others in need, to write letters and create protest signs, to grow food and prepare it and share it, to create the future and hold the fate of all the children, of all species.

May your hands be your gift to the world.