28 October 2018

Another Compassion Tune-Up: OneRepublic's Truth to Power

Heartsick, by Banksy
I just don't have it in me today to write a blog post. I am so saddened and horrified by the utter lack of empathy, compassion and simple human decency I'm witnessing more and more in social media comments. It's like a tidal wave of ignorance and scientific illiteracy is crashing over a shore of totally not giving a shit about anywhere or anyone else. I am heartsick and despondent.

So instead, I'll leave you with OneRepublic's Truth to Power, which powered the 2017 sequel to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, in which "he pursues the inspirational idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion." Like I try to explain to people, this is the most exciting time ever to be alive.

Folks, if you want to do something besides feel bad, do this:
Help create the political will to stop direct and indirect subsidies to the fossil fuel industries (bam! investment will move over to renewable energy technologies — and isn't it time for fossil fuel energy to stand on its own to feet ... or remain in the ground?) Write, phone, email, fax or visit your elected officials.
Tell your government to get your country's carbon emission targets in line with the IPCC's special report on limiting warming to 1.5ºC before the next big climate conference (COP24 in Poland), which might *possibly* help us avoid cataclysmic climate chaos (a 45% reduction in emissions by 2030; that will get us on our way to zero carbon by mid-century, but we have to start NOW!)
Lyrics below.



Truth to Power
by Ryan B Tedder / T Bone Burnett

I could tell you I was fragile
I could tell you I was weak
I could write you out a letter
To tell you anything you need
 
I've seen minutes turn to hours
Hours turn to years
And I've seen truth turn to power
If you could see me the way I see you
If you could feel me the way I feel you
You'd be a believer
You'd be a believer
Minutes turn to hours
Hours turn to years
And I've seen truth turn to power

I could tell you I was ageless
But I know you see the light
I could tell you I'm immune to everything
But that's a lie
Dust don't turn to flowers
Skies don't disappear
But I've seen truth turn to power
 
Oh, if you could see me the way I see you
If you could feel me the way I feel you
You'd be a believer (believer)
You'd be a believer (believer)
You'd be a believer (believer)
You'd be a believer (believer)
Hard to keep goin' on (hard to keep goin' on)
I said it's hard to keep goin' on (hard to keep goin' on)
It's hard to keep goin' on (hard to keep goin' on)

If you could see me the way I see you
If you could feel me the way I feel you
You'd be a believer
You'd be a believer
You'd be a believer
Be a believer
Be a believer (believer)
You'd be (be a believer)








Minutes turn to hours
Hours turn to years
And I've seen truth turn to power


21 October 2018

A Compassion Tune-Up: Pat Benetar's Invincible

It's been a long time since I shared a song that's really impacted me. When my hubby played this blast from the past (well, the 80s) the other night, it really struck me that we've condemned younger generations to a future of fighting. "We can't afford to be innocent. Stand up and face the enemy. It's a do or die situation. We will be invincible." That's the verse that really got me. Cuz it is a do or die situation. And they won't be invincible unless we're doing a lot more today to ensure it.

Then this: "We've got the right to be angry. What are we running for? When there's no where we can run to anymore." Too true. And tragic.

Have a listen. The lyrics are below.



Invincible
by Holly Knight and Simon Climie

This bloody road remains a mystery
This sudden darkness fills the air
What are we waiting for?
Won't anybody help us?
What are we waiting for?

We can't afford to be innocent
Stand up and face the enemy
It's a do or die situation
We will be invincible

This shattered dream you cannot justify
We're gonna scream until we're satisfied
What are we running for?
We've got the right to be angry
What are we running for?
When there's no where we can run to anymore

We can't afford to be innocent
Stand up and face the enemy
It's a do or die situation
We will be invincible
And with the power of conviction
There is no sacrifice
It's a do or die situation
We will be invincible

Won't anybody help us?
What are we running for?
When there's no where, no where we can run to anymore

We can't afford to be innocent
Stand up and face the enemy
It's a do or die situation
We will be invincible

And with the power of conviction
There is no sacrifice
It's a do or die situation
We will be invincible

Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah

We can't afford to be innocent (yeah)
Stand up and face the enemy (yeah)
It's a do or die situation 
We will be invincible

We can't afford to be innocent
Stand up and face the enemy ....

14 October 2018

All Sorts of Reactions to the IPCC 1.5ºC Report — Except the Right One

If I don't talk this week about last Sunday's release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Global Warming of 1.5ºC Report, I could possibly be the only armchair pundit who doesn't. So I will, but only to let you know my thoughts and feelings about the reaction to the report.

Although I live in the bubble of environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and enviro activists, it was impossible not to hear President T**** admit that he hadn't looked at it. "It was given to me. And I want to look at who drew it. You know, which group drew it. I can give you reports that are fabulous and I can give you reports that aren't so good," he said. I wonder where he gets his "fabulous" reports from. 

(This report was prepared by over 90 scientists from 40 countries who synthesized over 6,000 scientific references. It was then approved by all the governments in the world, although I heard from someone who was there that the US and Saudi Arabia and a handful of other countries threw up lots of roadblocks to that approval.)

Unlike their president, Republican politicians in the United States did have opinions — fatuous though they were. As reported by the Huffington Post, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said, "They might as well be calling on me to sprout wings and fly to Canada for the summer," and Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said of the actions urged by the report: "It's totally unrealistic. They must have parachuted in from another planet. There's not enough money in the world to pay for that. That's the problem with the UN that they come up with these policy ideas that are just 'La La Land.'" 

And yet President T**** is bragging these days (at the La La Land UN) that he just upped the US military budget to over $700 billion, an increase of 10%. So there's money enough for threatening, invading, killing, maiming, and destroying, but not for safeguarding life. Funny that.

Oh, and let's not forget the $5.3 trillion (TRILLION!) in direct and indirect subsidies that we taxpayers give to fossil fuel corporations every year. So there's money enough for coal, oil, gas, pollution, but not for the renewable energy technologies that could safeguard life. Funny that.

But I found the hardest part of this week were the responses of ordinary people like you and me who understand the climate crisis, who care about the climate crisis, who would perhaps call themselves climate change activists, but who are taking this report as a signal to stand down. I can't believe how many are giving up. Guy McPherson is in vogue again with his abrupt climate change "It's too late" message, so "live, love, and aim for excellence" (as one online commenter suggested to me). (By the way, there's nothing "abrupt" about this. We've known about it since at least the 1800s.)

Well, NO, damn it! I'm not giving up or giving in. I don't want to live excellently; I want my niece and all the beloved kids in my life to live, period. If we're going down, I want to go down swinging. I am going to carry on believing in the possibility of miracles through imagination and creative problem solving. I'm going to keep believing in the power of love and compassion to show our leaders that their own offspring will be impacted. I'm going to keep trying to teach ecological literacy and connecting with the rest of Nature. I'm going to keep seeing the potential for a return to simpler ways and a huge global race to zero carbon. Until my last breath. 

I believe that's the right reaction to the IPCC's 1.5ºC Report. For the sake of all the children, of all species, for all time.

p.s. I liked this article: Do we need an IPCC special report for humans?




07 October 2018

"Navigare Necesse Est, Vivere Non Necesse"

We have to sail, we do not have to live,
Sailing is more important than living
— Ancient Latin Motto



To sail is necessary; to live is not. When I saw that saying yesterday, it resonated with me right away, before I even understood it. 

Plutarch attributed it to Pompey (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus) who in 56 B.C., when he was ready to set out on his voyage home to Rome from Africa, faced a huge storm on the sea. The story goes: "The captains of the ships were reluctant to set sail. But he [Pompey] led the way himself and ordered them to weigh anchor, shouting out to them: 'We have to sail, we do not have to live.' So, with good fortune assisting his own daring and energy, he filled the sea with ships and the markets with grain. In fact, he provided so much of it that there was a surplus left over for the use of people outside Italy, the supply overflowing, as it were from a welling fountain, in all directions."

Are you seeing the parallels with the climate change emergency? 

We must set out into the huge storm of climate chaos if we want to find the solutions that will safeguard the future, but many of us aren't willing to feel bad about it let alone die trying to save the day.

Here's my version of Pompey's rallying cry:
To find solutions is necessary; 
To feel good is not.
Here's my poor attempt at a Latin translation:
Inuentionibus fiunt solutiones quaestionum
necesse est.
Sentire bonum non necesse.
In any case, let it sink in. If you've had your children, then biologically you're pretty much done — just one job left, and that's to help them survive so that they can reproduce. Avoiding helping to ensure their survival because thinking about the climate crisis makes your today feel a little less nice is the height of cowardice, no?

As this is the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Canada, may I wish you a year of gratitude for whatever blessings have helped you avoid losing your own life or that of your loved ones, your livelihood, your food security or water sources, your home or entire homeland. 

And may we all spend some time feeling bad for our friends — of all species — in Indonesia and elsewhere who are struggling through so many crises, some of them climate change related or exacerbated, some not.

May our continued good fortune assist our own daring and energy as we push through the bad feelings to get to anger and then action and solutions!