30 October 2011

One Month Until This Year's Climate Change Circus Begins!


From Bali in 2007 (when we still thought we had a chance to get it right) to Poznan (where nothing whatsoever seemed to happen), then from Copenhagen in 2009 (where Obama and his henchmen, including the prime minister of my country, threw every climate change activist in the world into a depression of some duration) to Cancun in 2010 (where the very courageous Pablo Solón representing Bolivia was the lone voice for a rapid and scientifically rationale response to the emergency), the UN's climate change negotiations have become more and more circus-like.
As in circus: |ˈsərkəs| A traveling company of acrobats, trained animals, and clowns that gives performances, typically in a large tent, in a series of different places.
The Durban Climate Change Conference starts one month from tomorrow, and will run from November 29 to December 9, 2011. Durban is a (mostly) lovely seaside city in South Africa; too bad it, too, will be turned into a circus. (The name "Copenhagen" is now associated with farce and failure.)

We've had a Bali Road Map, a Copenhagen Accord (see? nothing happened in Poznan, Poland), a set of Cancun Agreements — and still, absolutely NO national or international declaration that we've reached "dangerous interference with the climate system" (a UN Framework Convention on Climate Change trick: if we don't declare it, we don't have to do anything about it). NO declaration that we're in a global climate change emergency. NO emergency response. NO result from any of these conferences that has actually led to any nation, anywhere, moving toward a zero-carbon economy. (Even the disappearing Maldive Islands are only heading for carbon neutrality, not zero carbon.)

Where's our global imagination? Why aren't we excited about working together to envision the zero-carbon economy? (After all, it'll be safer, cleaner, healthier, more equitable and more peaceful than what we've got now!) Why do our leaders and negotiators feel such disdain for our (and their own) children and grandchildren? For our whole species? For life itself? Why do they act the role of such ecologically illiterate, callous clowns when they get together at these climate change conferences?

May this year's negotiators keep the world's most vulnerable, the children of all species, and future generations in their hearts and minds as they do their negotiating. Who else could they possibly think they're negotiating for???

*******

Hey, great cartoon, eh? I commissioned it from Stephanie McMillan, award-winning editorial cartoonist. If you want to use it, let me know and I'll send you a high quality version. Visit her Code Green website to see more ("Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down..."), or to commission your own cartoon.

28 October 2011

"Selfish &%$#@!" Theme Week: Friday

So many sad things in the news these days. I suppose the reason we here in the West (in EuroAmerican countries) are okay with committing atrocities overseas and allowing or even supporting atrocities overseas (short-term and long-term atrocities) is that if we don't think about it (look at it, hear about it, talk about it), it's not a problem.

For example, a new study out of Norway shows that Norwegians are in denial about climate change not because they "don't believe in it" (it's not a religion, after all), but because acknowledging climate change will challenge their image of themselves as nice people who don't harm anyone (except with the greenhouse gas emissions from their economy based on oil and gas). Here is Paul Thagard describing the research at Psychology Today:
Kari Marie Norgaard is an American sociologist who spent a year in a small city in Norway interviewing people about their beliefs and attitudes concerning climate change.... Norgaard says that global warming is difficult for ordinary Norwegians to think about because it threatens their individual and collective sense of identity. Norwegians tend to view themselves as egalitarian and socially just on an international scale, so it is difficult for them to acknowledge that their country's large production of oil and gas contributes to global warming....

Given their knowledge of climate change and their political values, it upsets Norwegians to think that global warming is a threat to human well-being, so they steer clear of thinking and talking about it.... Norgaard plausibly argues that explanation of climate change denial by ordinary Norwegians needs to be framed in terms of complex links between emotions and social structures. Denial results not just from individual thought processes, but also from processes of social interaction that encourage people to talk and think in some ways rather than others.
What if we turned these thought processes and social norms on their heads, and started asking Americans and Canadians and Norwegians and all the other comfortable, fossil-fuel producing/consuming people in the world to approach the climate change emergency with compassion, altruism, and selflessness. Because caring about the world's most vulnerable will, in the end, be good for all of us.

Selfish &%$#@! Theme Week is wrapping up today, so I just want to say it one more time. Selfishness when it comes to what we do (or don't do) today to mitigate climate change for future generations will come back to bite us in the butt. And if you're so old that you scoff at that notion, then please consider your role as an ancestor, or simply as a fellow human being.

And yes, to the man who said those incredibly selfish things in our local newspaper, I am talking to you. Please, have a heart and get some compassion. For your karma if not for your kids. Feel free to contact me if you want to learn more about the science.

p.s. I'm taking tomorrow off. Going to spend the day with some very unselfish, wonderful friends.

27 October 2011

"Selfish &%$#@!" Theme Week: Thursday

Selfish &%$#@! do this self-righteous, oh-poor-me thing whenever anyone challenges their fabrications, mis(anthropic)interpretations and cherry-picked data.

These climate change denialists keep forgetting that (a) they do indeed have the right to their own opinions (even when those opinions make them look like selfish &%$#@!), (b) they do not have the right to make up their own facts, and (c) all the evidence, all around them, shows them to be wrong, dead wrong. With tragic, lethal and catastrophic results.

And now that panel reports are showing the economic costs of climate change, and research reports are showing the urgency of the climate change emergency, and agronomists (you know, those scientists who study soil management and crop production) are freaking out about the dual hazards of too much or too little water and higher temperatures — well, now we're seeing the true colours (and complete ignorance) of some of our favourite selfish &%$#@!.

For example, as Reuter's reports, (Canada's) "Environment Minister Peter Kent responded by saying the report showed the importance of adapting to climate change." Dear kind sir, how do people adapt to burning forests, withered crops, unsafely high temperatures, increasingly freakish weather? How? If you had an ounce of understanding (of the, ahem, environmental science underlying the climate crisis, Mr. Environment Minister), courage or compassion, you would be talking about lowering Canada's greenhouse gas emissions as rapidly as possible, as quickly as possible, starting yesterday!!

But because you selfishly put your campaign contributions and your narrow worldview before the lives of all the young people alive today, you do nothing but kowtow to fossil fuel interests.

I could go on, and on and on and on. But I want to — selfishly — enjoy the rest of my day. So let me just leave you with this. Now there are complaints that renewable energy infrastructure is leading to ugliness ... as though power lines and oil pipelines are not ugly. As though famines and droughts and floods are not ugly.

I don't know ... can selfishness get any deeper? Any more callous? "I want my (own ugly) brand of beauty back!" Then stop using so much energy, doughbrain! Sheesh. (Oops, am I going to get in trouble for calling someone a doughbrain?)

p.s. For an interesting look at transmission tower as art, by extension proving that wind turbines and solar panels can also be seen as art, click here.

26 October 2011

"Selfish &%$#@!" Theme Week: Wednesday


So, another day, another look at how selfishness is finishing us off.

Has anyone else felt sickened by what's happened to Libya? A country that was taken from poorest in the world to highest standard of living in Africa (and if you think that's not saying much, higher standard of living than Russia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, I've read) ... trashed because our EuroAmerican culture cannot tolerate economic diversity!

We are so selfishly and slavishly attached to our deadly capitalist, free-market mono-economy that Qaddafi's form of socialism (you know, free health care and education, affordable housing, shared profits from nationally-owned oil fields, a debt-free nation) drove us nuts. Indeed, drove us to foment revolution, which turned us into murderers and assassins — killing the people we said we were going there to protect. The real reason the US led NATO into Libya is that Qaddafi was forming an African economic union around the gold dinar, and the US doesn't like anyone using a currency that isn't theirs. Can you say Saddam Hussein? (Do some research, people!)

Free-market economy. Yeah, sure — except when it's someone else's. Our Western nations cannot stand being left out of a game!

So what's all this got to do with climate change? Indeed, Libya's wealth was oil-based, so it wasn't all roses. But if you're willing to look deeply into what happened in, er, to Libya, you'll discover why the Big Boys won't make or allow the necessary transition to a zero-carbon economy. They want to own everything themselves. They want to have all the money. They want to be the only winners. They want everyone else to be losers. They are, in short, selfish &%$#@!.

Compassion? Okay, I'm betting that most of these people in high places had horrible little childhoods with no love from their parents. And either too much money or not enough of it. So I can feel sorry for them for that.

But you know, teachers have a saying: "Judge the behaviour, not the child." However, when it comes to adults, I'm judging them by their behaviour! So if their behaviour is selfish, then so are they. And if their behaviour is mean-spirited, then so are they. Ergo, they are selfish &%$#@!, pure and simple.

25 October 2011

"Selfish &%$#@!" Theme Week: Tuesday

My husband suggested that I choose a different name for my theme week. Something like "Climate Change Wimps Week." As in, what's driving the denialists and their denialist campaign is their fear; they are afraid to face what we're doing to the atmosphere and hence the biosphere. 

I actually like the sound of "climate change wussies" but I'm going to stick with "selfish %$#@!" anyway. 
However, the idea must have been rolling around in my head last night, because I woke up with this thought:

People who are working to slow global warming and to mitigate the climate change emergency are people who know that any "costs" involved in doing this will be miniscule compared to what it will cost if we don't stave off climate catastrophe. We've looked at Pascal's Wager, and we've made our decision. (See the video below.)

Our fear is grounded in deep care and concern for our children and their future. But where is the fear of climate change wussies grounded? I'm afraid it might now simply be a deep-seated fear of being wrong.

As I stated earlier this week, I would LOVE it if we climate change activists were wrong. The BEST NEWS IN THE WORLD would be finding out that the denialists were right. I would gladly trade my years of learning all this stuff, writing about all this stuff, crying about all this stuff for the news that it was all unnecessary.

Tragically, risk assessment won't let me give up. (Nor will my love for life.)

Risk = Probability x Magnitude.

Probability? It's already happening. Northern British Columbia's forests are orange, not green. Hells bells, even the cedars in my front yard are dying! University of British Columbia professor, Lori Daniels, says the death rate of cedars corresponds with the rise in average temperatures in the past few decades [pdf], and the ensuing longer dry periods and drought stress.

Scientists have been loathe to blame climate change for any one specific weather event — until now. According to a new computational approach, there's an 80% chance that climate change was responsible for the Russian heat wave of July 2010, which killed 700 people* and was unprecedented since record keeping began in the 19th century. "While the influence of climate trends on weather is recognized as 'loading the dice,' making extreme events more likely, individual events are still described in general terms of fitting patterns."

And magnitude? Oh my gosh. This is where I get really upset. I can see denialists not looking out the window, not following the news, not giving a damn about the more vulnerable populations in the world who are already suffering from climate change-related disasters. But I cannot fathom them being unable or unwilling to look to their own (grand)children's future. Why do they not want the best for them? And by "best" I mean food and water security. Why are they willing to gamble with their (grand)children's future for the sake of giving up some creature comforts today?

Our generation (at least in EuroAmerican cultures) has had it the best of any generation in human history. Hands down, no argument. And that has turned us selfish and lazy — but do we truly not give a damn about the future? Are we just lacking in imagination, and can only picture more of the same for them (which belies complete ecological illiteracy, sorry)?

Or are most of us afraid? Afraid of the monster our culture has created. Afraid to admit to it, to face up to it. And afraid of the consequences of not facing up to it, but afraid to admit they've been wrong?

Alas, maybe I'm overstating my case. Perhaps they're all just selfish %$#@!, and this has nothing to do with fear.

Time for some soul searching on the part of climate change denialists. Some heavy-duty, what-do-I-truly-value soul searching. Some "what do I want my legacy to be" soul searching. Some "my parents don't control me anymore so why am I still afraid of being wrong" soul searching. Some "do I believe in heaven or karma" soul searching. Some Pascal's Wager soul searching.

And if, after all that soul searching, the denialists still want to deny, may they please do it over a beer at the pub, instead of in forums where they're going to look selfish and mean-spirited. Cuz don't forget, we're trying to safeguard the future for your (grand)kids, too.
p.s. Here's one flaw I see in Greg Craven's version of Pascal's Wager. Costs. How come building new coal-fired plants and digging new oil wells (and cleaning up after them) and putting in new highways is never considered "costs" — but doing stuff to protect the children's health and future is "costs." That just doesn't make sense.

* The heat wave in Russia in 2010 didn't kill 700 -- I really don't know where I got that number from. It's estimated to have killed 55,000!

24 October 2011

"Selfish &%$#@!" Theme Week: Monday

If being nice means not speaking my truth or not sharing the truth, then there's no sense being nice anymore. The gloves are off. I cried for a day about the fallout of calling an unnamed denialist a selfish &%$#@! (though everyone I've talked to has expressed their support). My tears are over today and I'm feeling much stronger.

In her 1988 (and recently updated) book of the same name, Susan Jeffers says, "Fear the fear and do it anyway." This was a self-help book (if memory serves, it helped me!), though Dr. Jeffers probably wasn't talking about standing up to climate change bullies and wussies.

But it's a reminder nonetheless that being courageous doesn't mean not feeling scared. It means, as Dr. Jeffers suggests, that one acts despite feeling scared. So call me courageous but I woke up this morning realizing that lashing out is simply one of the tricks in the satchel of climate change denialists — and I'm not going to fall prey to it.

I'm going to keep calling a spade a spade — and if my wannabe nemesis thinks it's all about him, so much the better. I ain't giving up on the kids and their future.

I don't have (too big of) a problem with people who are simply too busy and tired — working hard, raising kids, growing food, etc. — to do the research on climate change. Long ago, I realized that with no kids of my own (but a beloved niece and two wonderful stepsons whose future I care a great deal about), I would have to pull some extra weight. And though it's sad, sad work, I don't mind it or regret it. (Though I do mind and regret that anyone has to do environmental work to begin with. Oh, but that we had an economic system that didn't bulldoze everything in its path!)

The people I really have a problem with are those who read a couple of denialist websites — or columns in the local paper — and decide they know everything they need to know about climate systems, ecology, carbon feedbacks, and the physics and chemistry of greenhouse gases to be able to tell everyone to relax, it's no big deal, it's happened before (yeah, buddy, long before humans existed, and certainly before we "evolved" into an agricultural species dependent on a stable climate). These are people who can't say "food security" and who can't bring themselves to give a flying $#@! about the millions of people in the world already being impacted by the climate change emergency. Grrrrrr.

So, as a sort of spiritual mother to all the children in the world (just as all elders are spiritual parents), I take my responsibility to fight for their future very seriously. Does a mother bear make a polite request when she first feels threatened? No, she knows exactly how she's going to protect her cubs — and it ain't pretty!

I AM MOTHER BEAR. HEAR ME ROAR!

23 October 2011

Which Tombstone Will They Choose for You?


I have always been a "nice girl." Thoughtful, kind, avoided trouble. But enough!

Is being nice (calm, understanding, compassionate towards wrongdoers) really more important than safeguarding the future for all children? Am I supposed to sit idly by while armchair "pundits" with no climate science qualifications bamboozle their audiences with cherry-picked data, misinterpretations and outright fabrications, the future bedamned? We are all entitled to our own opinions — but not to our own facts.

And which is worse? Calling someone a selfish %$#@ or being the someone who promotes an attitude that condemns all future generations to climate hell?

I know which side I come down on, but I'm just wondering, because it seems things are a little skewed in my community these days. (I won't call individual climate change denialists "selfish bastards" anymore — even though I didn't actually name anyone. They don't like it. Too close to home perhaps. Nor do others. Apparently, being nice trumps integrity and truthfulness and caring about the children. But it doesn't mean that the entire denialist campaign isn't made up of them. What kind of adult is it who puts their own creature comforts ahead of the needs of children for health and safety and security? And I'm a bad person because I called someone a name? Sheesh!)

It's pretty obvious to me that most people don't realize how grave the threat of the climate change emergency is, nor how profoundly their (grand)children's lives will be impacted. If they did, they wouldn't be upset with me for calling a spade a spade. They'd be railing against those who spew misinformation and continue to drag down any possibility of political change in the right direction.

Now, just to be clear about which side the truth lies on ... a new study shows that "global warming is real." Contrary to what my local climate change denialist is sharing in print with my community ("Average temperature appears to have slightly declined over the past decade," he tells his readers — which doesn't include me anymore. Wrong.)

Though not yet officially peer-reviewed or published, the authors of this study are sharing the preliminary results together with the programs and data set "in order to invite additional scrutiny as part of the peer review process."

Robert Muller, a known climate change skeptic, and his team (the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, sponsored in part by the Koch Brothers, deep-pocketed climate change denialists extraordinaire) headed up the project. Here's what he has to say about the results so far:
"When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn't know what we'd find. Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that. They managed to avoid bias in their data selection, homogenization and other corrections.

Global warming is real. Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate."
Please remember that I take no delight when climate change denialists are proven wrong. I wish they were all right! I wish global warming were all a hoax and a myth. I want to wake up from this nightmare. But that's not going to happen. "Global warming is real." It's only getting worse. And it's the children who are going to suffer.

Because it's real, we've got to get going on solutions. And because it's real, you're either, to borrow from Dubya, for the right of future generations to a safe and stable climate, or you're not. Which makes you a selfi ... no, wait, I said I wasn't going to go there anymore.

*******

So, which tombstone would you want for your gravesite? Can you guess which one I want for mine?

16 October 2011

Clinton Wasn't Completely Right - It's the Food, Stupid

I know, I know. I talk about this a LOT. But today is Blog Action Day, and the theme this year is food! So how could I not talk about the relationship between food security and the climate change emergency?

There. Maybe I've said it all already. Climate change is threatening our food security. Bam. Done.

Okay, I'll keep going. While pundits are still — if they talk about global warming and climate change at all — drawing our attention to rising sea level and the plight of polar bears, the biggest, gravest, fastest growing and most urgent threat to all human beings on the planet (with tens of millions already impacted) is drought and wild fires, which lead to crop failure, which leads to food shortages, with ensuing famine (and then the violence).

I know that we in the developed part of the world feel immune. Our grocery store shelves are stocked with provisions, and our home pantries are full of pasta and canned peaches. What do we possibly have to worry about?

Well, as the summer Arctic sea ice extent continues to decrease (summer of 2011 was the second lowest in satellite history), our Northern Hemisphere growing seasons will become hotter and drier = loss of crops. Witness Russia 2010. If we get a few bad summers in a row, food prices will go through the roof and food shortages could lead to violence, even here "at home." (Remember, our grocery stores only hold about three days' worth of food!)

If that sounds ominous, then get serious about solutions that create local community resilience:
  • grow as much food as possible at your own home (lawn = food, porch = food, apartment balcony = food, sunny window sill = food)
  • work with others to start as many community gardens as possible
  • start a program whereby people without land tend the gardens of people who can't
  • talk to others about food security (supermarkets have lulled us into forgetting that our species now depends on a stable climate and successful agriculture)
  • create a community kitchen, where people teach each other how to prepare food that is locally grown
  • eat lower on the food chain (I see lots of grazing land around my community that could, with some work, grow food for humans instead)
And while you're at it, help to create the political will that will lead to serious international action on the climate change emergency at the next climate negotiations, coming up this December in Durban, South Africa. Help your elected officials and your local, regional and federal governments see that climate change is a threat to our food security.

p.s. As the worst famine in many, many decades continues to ravage the Horn of Africa, can anyone tell me where the "militants" (do they even know what they're fighting for anymore?) of Al Shabab are getting their food from?

By the way, it's never just one thing, is it? But in this case, the famine has been exacerbated by global warming and climate change — and the violence makes it even more tragic.

09 October 2011

A Global Suicide Prevention Strategy

Canada's House of Commons agreed this week (something its members don't often do) to create a National Suicide Prevention Strategy. The vote was practically unanimous, I've heard. Everyone agrees that suicide is tragic and heartbreaking. Media pundits believe, however, that talk is cheap and that talking about developing a strategy to prevent suicide is not the same as taking action to prevent suicide.

I am very lucky that my life has only ever been peripherally touched by suicide. My heart goes out to anyone who has ever felt suicidal or been devastated by the suicide of a loved one. I know it leaves nothing but a trail of tears and questions behind. (Was there more I could have done? Something I could have done differently? Some clue I should have picked up on?) I know its causes are innumerable — from mental health issues (such as depression), to socioeconomic despair (suicides are rising amongst farmers around the world), to not taking seriously the immense pain felt by a young person whose first boyfriend or girlfriend has broken up with them. (It's not just "puppy love" to them.)

All of this got me thinking about suicide in broader terms, and I wondered (due to our parliament's unanimity) if the idea of global suicide prevention is something people could easily grasp and get behind.

The English word "suicide" comes from the Latin sui "of oneself" + caedere "kill." And it is true that we are killing ourselves — certainly our species, our progeny (hence, my coined term "progenycide"), if not our own children or grandchildren.

As with personal suicide, there are still many who can't, won't or just don't see the danger signs. There are still many who deny the insanity of our system, which is based on infinite growth on a planet of finite resources. There are still many who are ecologically (and historically) illiterate and don't understand the connection between civilization, agriculture/food security, and a stable climate. There are still many who pooh-pooh the seriousness of the climate change emergency, a risk I've never fathomed. (Think how those people can gloat if those raising the alarm are wrong. Think of the perilousness of their stance if they themselves are wrong.)

So what would a global suicide prevention strategy look like? Here are my ideas. Please feel free to add your own.
  1. Declare the planetary climate change emergency.
  2. Immediately stop all subsidies to fossil fuel industries. (They are doing quite well on their own, thank you, and we should not be continuing to feed the AGW* beast.)
  3. Immediately switch all subsidies to promote the growth of renewable energy technologies and businesses.
  4. Immediately make it law that all businesses must pay for their hitherto externalized social and environmental costs.
  5. Immediately tax carbon. (Create an international even playing field.)
  6. Immediately create a Global Green Fund with a donation from every nation of 10% of its military budget.
  7. Plant trees. Plant trees. Plant trees. Plant trees. Everywhere, everyone, at every level of government.
  8. Teach children how to grow food. NOW.
  9. Put the children and all future generations of our species at the centre of all our talks, conferences, summits, and negotiations.
  10. Do everything in our power to refreeze the summer Arctic sea ice. (Prepare to paint every black roof and dark surface in the world white, which will create reflective, cooling albedo.)
  11. Create a Global Suicide Prevention support group. This stuff is scary and we need friends and like-hearted community members to help us face all this and work at it. Most of the actions above are not things that individuals will do, but together we can be change the political will of our governments.

* AGW = anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming

02 October 2011

Compassion for the Deniers, Skeptics, Ignorers and Delayers

Finally, there's a reason to feel compassion for those who deny the climate change emergency, ignore it, or simply don't seem to give a damn about those already (and soon to be) impacted.

They fear their own mortality. They are afraid of death. And that fear drives them to hold fast to anxiety-buffering worldviews or "immortality projects" that sometimes act as barriers to sustainable practices.

This is an idea that I've been aware of for a while now (see Janis L. Dickinson's The People Paradox: Self-Esteem Striving, Immortality Ideologies, and Human Response to Climate Change). A series of studies by psychologists Tom Pyszczynski, Sheldon Solomon and Jeff Greenberg "found clear evidence that evoking people's fear of death made them more defensive of their world view, more hostile to foreigners, more willing to lash out violently at people of different political or religious beliefs and more drawn to charismatic leaders." (See also this discussion of fear and the environmental movement.)

Ernest Becker once said, "To live fully is to live with an awareness of the rumble of terror that underlies everything." The Ernest Becker Foundation (EBF) "seeks to illuminate how the unconscious denial of death and mortality profoundly influences human behavior, giving rise to acts of hate and violence as well as noble, altruistic striving." Indeed, the EBF has a conference coming up entitled Understanding the Violence of Climate Change (Seattle, October 21-23, 2011), which will "explore the close correlation of the denial of climate change to the denial of death."

Here's the question, then. If those who deny, question or ignore the climate change emergency are afraid of death, do those who are fighting to safeguard the future of life on Earth face their own mortality with acceptance or courage? Are climate activists those who have made peace with the idea of dying?

Let me tell you a story. One Sunday, almost 20 years ago, I woke up and told my husband we needed to take a drive. (This is something we never did, and something I never did as a child — my father was a travelling salesman, so taking a Sunday drive was something we just didn't do.)

Because I was so sure I had to do this, my husband joined me to see what it was all about. (I had no clue at the time.) We drove south out of town for quite a ways until I shouted, "Turn left here!" Again we drove for quite a ways until we came to a lovely little campground by a pretty little lake. "This is it," I said. I wandered about in the campground and sat by the lake until I realized this wasn't the right place.

I decided to cross the road, and started bushwacking up a wooded hill through trees and leaves and branches. My husband was following his own path now, so I was alone. I kept wondering what I was there for, what I was going to find.... And then it happened. Something caught my attention, and as I looked over my shoulder, I saw myself — my dead body — lying next to a log in a bed of moss.

A wondrous sense of serenity came over me as I realized that my death will be a gift to the Earth, a returning to my Mother. In that instant, I was no longer afraid of my mortality, knowing deeply and calmly that death is not an end but a new beginning in the cycle of life.

Perhaps that sounds cliché (not to mention sudden) but I made my peace with the idea of becoming compost after I die. And now I fight to protect all life (not just my own) — the very miracle of life — on this planet.

Which has me wondering ... are all climate activists at peace with their own death, and therefore able to to fight for the right of others to live?

p.s. No, that's not me. (I wish!) It's a beautiful photo by Scott Fitzhume from Pixdaus.