29 January 2017

No Alternative Facts Here, Just Bad Health and Bad News

I'm lying in bed with a bad cold/flu combo, so I've got too much time on my hands. Even so, some weeks, I just don't know what to blog about. Much of the news is so bad that anything positive I might write about risks seeming trite in comparison. 

I do want to let you know that I've had the privilege of meeting and working with two classes of wonderful first-year international students this past month. These fine young people are from China (mostly), Singapore, Vietnam, Mongolia, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, Ukraine and Iran. What a pleasure and an honour it is to talk with them about sustainable development and their future.


This past week — President T****'s first in office — has people around the world not only petrified by the thought what he has up his sleeve but actually impacted by the executive orders he's signed already. WTF? Truly, WTF? How can one loose cannon, in such a short time, undo so much good work of so many good people who have worked for years in a country that has been talking social justice for decades if not centuries? They've not always been successful, but there's always been someone trying.

The first thing I did before starting this post was listen to the song in this Compassion Tune-Up. Loudly. Perhaps I need to start offering Outrage Wake-Ups as well. If the new American president is going to be emboldened, then we ought to become bold, too. One piece of advice I've read more than once this week is to not normalize T****'s actions — to stay outraged by them (99% of them have been outrageous already). But that's going to mean taking care of ourselves by sometimes taking time to not focus on what he's doing. 

So in my sickly stupor, I'm going to watch some re-runs of the Mary Tyler Moore show ... Mary Tyler Moore died this week, and a lot of us are feeling quite nostalgic, I think. I know I am. Her television portrayal of a working single woman in the early 1970s inspired a whole bunch of second generation feminists to see it as quite normal that women would succeed in work just as men do. 

Perhaps we can (re?)create a sense that it's quite normal that elected officials look after more than just the economy of their constituents — especially when it's that predatory economy that's fuelling the foreclosure on our children's future. The new president has children — he must hate them somehow to wish a climate hell on them. Or maybe he just doesn't see it as his job to ensure the viability of their future. (He probably thinks he created his present "success" all by himself, so why should he have to help his children make it? Frankly, because of the climate change crisis, that small attitude leads to progenycide. And people have to ask — read the comments at your peril — what it is that others are protesting. Sheesh.)

I'll leave you with the link to an article by Bill McKibben: The New Battle Plan for the Planet's Climate Crisis, in which he talks about something sort of new: renewable energy denial amongst T****'s roster of cronies. It's an interesting read. 

And hey, Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! It's the Year of the Rooster (my sign) and my Chinese students tell me it means I'm going to have a lucky year. (I promise to share my luck.)

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?