Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

The psychologists and psychiatrists among us must be busy these days, because it’s very difficult to escape falling into a wide-ranging and deep depression over the current barage of news.

James Bovard quoteIt’s been difficult for the past three years. But now, with this “tit-for-tat” set of violent exchanges with Iran, we are so close to war – and to a possible nuclear war at that – that it seems nearly impososible to keep a positive attitude.  Any my New Year’s resolution this year was to increase my gratitude.

I am still, as always, grateful for such seemingly simple things as hot running water; for electric lights; for appliances that work; for a warm house (winter zone here) and enough food. I am grateful for friends and family.

However, I would like to be grateful for a Congress that took up its rightful leadership role of being the only institution which can declare war; for a government that truly understood the checks and balances built into the system; for members of Congress who understood that the art of governance is the art of compromise, not the art of obstruction. I would like to be grateful for a government and for federal and district judges who were aligned in declaring that no person is above the law – not one; who understood that rolling back environmental regulations only leads us down the same kind of path that Australia is so tragically facing right now; who understood that there is no such thing as “trickle-down” economics, because having too much has a weird psychological effect of many people – they end up feeling like they never have enough.

Meantime, in my very small corner of the world, I am grateful for my life. I’m also mindful of those who have not nearly as much, right here in our own country. We need to keep speaking out; to keep telling the stories; to keep promoting the awareness – to recreate the reasons to be grateful for the founding of this country.



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Who’s next?

I’ve been almost paralyzed into blog silence these last three years, overwhelmed by how much there has been that needed not just comment, but galvanizing action. It hasn’t helped that I was dealing with surgery and illness for most of this time, but still, I’ve been paying attention. I’ve continued to make small donations to those organizations with the same values I have – most of which I joined immediately after the 2016 election.

But now, the fires in Australia point all of us to the major issue of our time.

They have been too much, based on too little which is too late.

There is too much fire; it has spread across the entire continent. See the map below.

There was not enough done in years past to prevent it. Australia is heavily reliant on the coal industry. It has a prime minister who denies the reality of climate change. It has a government which has cut back funding for firefighters.

And now, it is too late.

Below is a map showing the placement of current fires.

Maybe you think of Australia as a great spot for tourists. If so, then know that the beautiful beaches of the south coast are decimated; the koala bear population in New South Wales has been cut by about two-thirds, with more to come; kangaroos are running for their lives; more than half a million animals have perished. People are without shelter and have lost their means of earning a living as well as their homes and  entire communities. The great “stations,” or ranches in the interior, are out of water. (https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/1753689/day-zero-looms-in-australian-outback.)

When whole ecosystems are destroyed, what supports life?

You would have thought it was bad enough that more than half of the Great Coral Reef is alrealdy bleached and dead. But somehow that hasn’t made the point. (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/great-barrier-reef-dying-climate-change-caused-decrease-in-new-coral-study-says/) Maybe it’s because few of us have had the privilege of seeing the Great Coral Reef except on TV.

But I have been to Australia. I have walked with friends through a rain forest there. I have been on the beaches. I have marveled at the plantains, the pineapples, the kiwi fruit; I have a beautiful art print by an aboriginal artist. I have seen the Sydney Opera House. I have also choked on forest fire smoke in Montana and in Oregon. I can relate.

Weep for Australia. And ask yourself, Who’s next? Africa, with its severe droughts? Parts of Europe and the western U.S., so prone to fire? Other parts of Europe and the southwestern and eastern parts of the U.S., overtaken by floods, twisters and rising sea levles?

And whoever is next – will we reach out to help each other? Will we finally listen to the scientists? Should we start preparing long letters to our grandchildren, saying how sorry we are? How we took running water for granted? How we assumed our homes would always provide shelter? How we thought there would always be enough food at the local grocery store? How we didn’t expect a summer to reach 110 degrees here in the cool Pacific Northwest? How we were aware of increased forest fires, but never thought they would get that bad? How we assumed that somebody, somewhere was working on solutions and would let us know when things were right again?

Is anything else as important? As much as I want to fight for democracy, for women’s rights, for freedom of the press, for overturning the disastrous regulations put in place in the last three years, to stop the march toward war, and to replace politicians who seemingly have no spine to stand up and do what is right – all those things pale in my mind when replaced with this one question:

Who’s next?


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