25 December 2016

A Christmas Compassion Tune-up — No child should ever cry on Christmas

I'm writing this on Christmas Eve, with just a few minutes left till midnight. I spent the evening with friends sharing a lovely dinner of potato pancakes (in honour of Hanukkah), cranberry sauce and warm winter salad, then watching a favourite movie.

Despite what's going on in the world, I still believe in my heart of hearts that the greatest way we could solve the climate change crisis would be to feel compassion for the children with the future we're bequeathing them. 

So my holiday gift for you this year will be this compassion tune-up. It's a song I've only ever heard once on the radio — a few years ago — (they don't play this one in malls and elevators) and it had me sobbing while doing my sit ups. 

At this special time of year for so many of us, let's remember to count our blessings. I count you as one of mine.

No Child Should Ever Cry On Christmas
by John Oates
sung by Hall & Oates

Father Christmas, Mother Mary
Bless the Child on this, His day
Round the world are so many families
Not enough to eat but still the faith to pray
Let the Holy star above
Shine a silver light of love
And turn this world around
No child should ever cry on Christmas
No child should ever be afraid
No child should ever cry on Christmas Day
Come the morning
Toys and laughter
Yeah that's the way
It's supposed to be
Then all the mornings
Ever after
Bring us hope and joy and harmony
Let the Holy star above
Shine a silver light of love
And turn this world around 
[Repeat Chorus] 
Let the Holy star above
Shine a silver light of love
And turn this world around 
[Repeat Chorus]

18 December 2016

Stand Up for Science!

Fascinating. A week in the United States, San Francisco, both before Christmas and before the Electoral College decides on the new president.

I can report that yes, the "T**** effect" is a real thing. Emboldened jerks are saying rude things to women, visible minorities, anyone they think might be an immigrant. The waitress in our favourite restaurant told us a story that ended with her suggesting to one particular table of jerks that unless they were of Native American heritage, they too were immigrants. (She was an "immigrant" from New York City.) Apparently they had a hard time wrapping their brains around that. And yes, people south of the border are wearing safety pins to signify that they're a safe haven if things get ugly.

We were attending the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference, one of the largest meetings of scientists in the world, where my hubby, Peter, presented on the
planetary climate change emergency. (It was called Climate Golden Age or Greenhouse Gas Dark Age Legacy?)

The highlight for me, besides the opportunity to meet and dine with some wonderful online friends and fellow climate change activists, was the Stand Up for Science rally at noon on day 2 of the AGU conference. (You can see Peter in the bottom left corner, below, and our friend, "Earth Doctor" Reese Halter, in the top row in red.) 


Several scientist-speakers, well known as brave souls to climate change activists, called on their colleagues to speak out against a politicization of science that is increasingly dangerous for the planet.

We ALL need to become CLIMATE HEROES for the children of all species and all future generations — but scientists have a particularly important role to play in helping the rest of us pluck up our courage through knowledge and understanding.

Science is definitely under attack. The US has a president-elect who is gearing everything up (Exxon CEO for Secretary of State, anyone?) to continue burning fossil fuels at any cost, when the science says we need to get to zero carbon emissions by mid-century if we want to ensure a future.

Let's stand up for climate change science and scientists, folks. After all, we don't quibble with gravity. Then why do so many of us doubt the physical law that pumping more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere causes it to retain more heat?

UPDATE: Here in Canada, things are getting better for scientists.

11 December 2016

It's Not Just About Us ...

Chris Weston
I'll admit that as a Canadian, I've struggled from time to time with some anti-American sentiment. You can imagine how I'm having to talk to myself these days, eh? That's because this president-elect isn't just going to destroy the US, he's going to destroy the rest of the world. I've written about that before, here. And when I say "the rest" I mean everything else.

Here's the thing. We all know (well, everyone who isn't American knows) that Americans are rather (and I'm generalizing here, for which I'll apologize now), um, insular. Their geographic ignorance is legendary and world-renowned! (Do they know that? I wonder.)

But it's their ecological ignorance that is so dangerous right now. Another study just revealed that "climate-related local extinctions are already widespread among plant and animal species."

Yet, Mr. I-Can't-Bring-Myself-to-Utter-His-Name-on-My-Blog-Anymore is going after the names of anyone in the US Department of Energy who has worked on climate change. Talk about trying to chill US progress on climate change mitigation. [Update: The questionnaire was "not authorized" and has therefore been withdrawn. Nice play, transition team. Way to accidentally on purpose ensure the chill and then get away with it with a simple "oops." Watch for a lot more of this kind of slime.] 

So as the world actually experiences worse and worse impacts of climate disruption, "that man" and his cronies are going deeper and deeper into pignorant (pretend ignorant) denial. 

It's as if he doesn't (I'm sure he does, but he pretends he doesn't — greed can do that to you) understand that we are completely reliant on the Earth, the earth, the biodiversity of this precious planet, and all of Nature's gifts. He acts as though he is a man unto himself, as though he's never breathed a molecule of air he didn't make, never eaten a calorie of food he didn't grow, never drunk a drop of water he didn't magically bring into existence. 

So while he's going about business-as-worse-than-usual, his plan is to make the biosphere uninhabitable. And not just for humanity, but for MOST OTHER SPECIES, too. 

If they could, I think all the other species would revolt in a stampede that would trample a certain red-headed president-elect.

A friend wrote to say that she couldn't get her comment to publish, so I thought I would post it here: 

"Even though you apologize, you discount many, many Americans who are very aware of climate change, want to make changes, but simply can’t with the political voting structure in place, just as we have our problems with our voting system, and we had problems with [Prime Minister] Harper. So, you end up alienating some of the very people who might agree with you and are fighting for change. It just seems strange to see it in writing from you on your blog. Yes, I agree that Trump is going to wreck the world for us, including many, many Americans who didn’t vote for him, and the Americans who did vote for him. We are all in trouble."

To my friend: The last bit of your comment explains why I don't care about the first bit (except that I don't see that I'm discounting anyone). The Americans (and some of them are my friends) who are working on climate change and trying to create change in the US know that ecological ignorance is killing us. And they — and I — know that we have no time left to worry about hurt feelings. Those who know me well will now know how serious the threat is if I'm not worried about being nice anymore.  

04 December 2016

Stand By ... for Standing Rock

Television used to remind us that we shared Turtle Island

Stand by, folks ... I'm attending something really cool later today and want to report on it then.

Thank you for your patience. A very, very dear friend from the Anishinabe First Nation came to our small community today to help us with a vigil for Standing Rock (one of a great many worldwide). The ceremony itself — especially the water blessing and the song Water is Life (written by someone here in our community) — was loving and healing

The talking circle afterwards, however, was POWERFUL. So powerful that when we got home, we learned that the American government (President Obama, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior) had earlier today denied the easement that would have allowed the pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe and the Missouri River through Standing Rock Sioux territory in North Dakota.

Frankly, I think the arrival of 4,000 US veterans woke a few people up — like smelling salts or a slap across the face. All of a sudden, all those militarized "law" enforcement officers were facing not "the other" but themselves. I can imagine that the arrival of the veterans felt like a rebuke ... but one from a loving elder who sees his younger (foolish) self in the faces of his grandchildren, and wants to guide them away from their foolishness. (But I could be imagining things.)

During our talking circle this afternoon, we heard the story about a grandmother's way of dealing with a bully. "The next time he bullies you or is mean to you, just look into his eyes until you see the Creator there," she told her granddaughter. The storyteller, who was quite young when this happened, did so. The next time the bully was mean to her, she gazed up into his face until suddenly, she saw the Creator in his eyes. "He melted," she said. "The bully in him just melted away." (I burst into tears realizing it was perhaps the first time that boy had ever felt truly seen.)

I think the enforcement officers at Standing Rock were looked at deeply today. I think they could not remain immune to the gaze when the gazers were themselves. "How could," they'd have been wondering, "thousands of my brothers and sisters be standing on the other side instead of on my side? What is wrong with my side?" Turns out it was so that the veterans could look deep into their eyes ... and see the Creator.

I pray that the enforcement folks finally felt seen and understood — and that they can now stand down, as fellow human beings, realizing how wrong they were about the people they'd turned into the enemy. "The friend of my friend must be my friend."

And we are all one on this Earth.

BTW, we here on the west coast of Canada are steeling ourselves for a fight to protect our ocean. And we will follow the lead of our coastal First Nations. Thank you, Standing Rock, for inspiring us with your example, your bravery and your fortitude. You've really started something!


Whenever we talk about Standing Rock and other protests, we need to remember that if not stopped, fracking and the burning of oil, natural gas and coal will decimate the viability and the habitability of our biosphere.