26 May 2019

Compassion Tune-Up: An Oldie (But a Goodie), Like Me

Well, I've just celebrated another turn around the sun. I think I'm going to have to accept the fact that I'm not young anymore. ;-) And I think I feel a midlife crisis coming on. 

This new version of a wonderful Joni Mitchell oldie by Counting Crows is an excellent reminder that we don't have to throw out the old to make room for the new in the work we're doing. It's also a sad reminder of how much worse things have become in the last few decades. (This song was released in 1970, and Mitchell is 75 now!) Plus it has prompted me to examine my life, to be sure that I do know what I've got before it's gone.

Here, for your melancholic listening pleasure, is Big Yellow Taxi. Enjoy.


Big Yellow Taxi

by Joni Mitchell
They paved paradise 
And put up a parking lot 
With a pink hotel, a boutique 
And a swinging hot spot 

Don't it always seem to go 
That you don't know what you've got 
Till it's gone 
They paved paradise 
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees 
Put 'em in a tree museum
And they charged the people 
A dollar and a half just to see 'em 

Don't it always seem to go 
That you don't know what you've got 
Till it's gone 
They paved paradise 
And put up a parking lot

Hey farmer farmer 
Put away that DDT now 
Give me spots on my apples 
But leave me the birds and the bees 
Please! 

Don't it always seem to go 
That you don't know what you've got 
Till it's gone 
They paved paradise 
And put up a parking lot

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
© Siquomb Publishing Company

19 May 2019

Faith Rather Than Hope

We "countryfolk" are housesitting for friends and getting an extended "city fix," which is always fascinating. City streets sure are lonelier, especially with everyone checking out their "screens" as they bustle along. But shopkeepers and restaurant servers have been quite friendly (perhaps reflecting back our small-town vibe?).

Hanging in our friends' kitchen is this little sign:


"And faith for the future" ... that's the part that struck me. You know how I feel about hope and hope mongering, where feeling hopeful about the climate crisis is more important than actually doing something about the climate crisis. (If what environmental education guru, David Orr, says is true — that hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up — I figure it's only because it wants to get a tan on its arms.)

But faith. Faith. Doesn't that seem different somehow? The non-religious definition is "complete trust or confidence in someone or something." The moment I read that sign, I realized that I do my work on the climate change emergency with some sort of faith in my heart that ... well, that we humans will at last pull together. 

It could well be too late by the time we get our act together (indeed, it's maybe too late already, given all the warming we're already committed to due to the ocean heat lag ... and all the warming that will be added when we stop fossil fuel burning, since fossil fuel particulate pollution has been masking a certain percentage of the warming to date), but if nothing else, I'd like today's younger generations to know that we finally, after a huge collective forehead slap, "got it" and came together for their sake. 

Still waiting for our collective facepalm
The quote below isn't quite correct. The IPCC has told us that we only have until 2020 to get our carbon emissions into rapid decline if we want to be able to meet our 2030 and 2050 targets (50% reduction and virtually zero, respectively). 

But the sentiment is one that resonates for me. It speaks to the faith that arises when people — listening to the love in their heart, instead of the fear — start doing exciting, courageous work together.
It is true that the IPCC tells us that we have only 12 years to act ... but in the world there are thousands of projects. They do not start from pessimism or optimism, they start with people who choose to follow their heart, and do what they feel called to. Science tells us that it is possible.  — Diego Galli