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Time Out

CAME DOWN with a sinus infection. Miserable. But, could be worse.

Got the meds I need. Got the time. I’m allowing this healing process to be an opportunity to recover on many levels. And like the rest of the world, reevaluate. As a consequence, this space will be going dark for awhile. Time to recalibrate.

Take care. Stay safe.

 

 

 

Happy Earth Day to Us

Celebrating 50 years with a few recycled blog postings.

WHAT A LONG, strange trip it’s been. So sang the Grateful Dead, appropriately. Strange indeed. Ten percent of America turned out for the first Earth Day in 1970, and the fossil fuel industry took notice, turned on them—and us—and so far continues to dominate their war on sustainable life, escalating the destruction of our planet for profit, while monopolizing the media to convince us resistance is futile. Just relax and enjoy your comforts in luxurious complacency. You’ve never had it so good. Stay the course.

Then, from out of nowhere, Covid-19 forced us to radically change our behavior across the globe, virtually overnight, proving we can if we choose. Next up, behavioral change for the impending climate crisis? Not seeing many volunteers for that. Curious irony there. While the coronavirus is a terrifying new disease that can assault victims mercilessly, it kills perhaps one percent of the people it infects. The climate crisis is on track to kill billions—half the global population or more in the coming decades—from  indefensible super storms, droughts, fires and sea rise; societal collapse, global pestilence, disease and starvation; and savage wars for water, food and shelter. In the face of this presently inevitable outcome—an outcome that we still can change, will we?  Why not? We can. We just did.

Imagine if ten percent of America—now some 37 million people—were to show up en masse once again in Washington, New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities and towns across the country, all demanding climate action. We did it before. And we got it.

 

You are here.

SPECIFICALLY, in the upper right hand corner. And by you, of course I mean “we,” since we’re all captive on the same floating blue marble of a starship. This chart, a recycled blog post, is based on peer-reviewed science, not a conspiracy theory from some oil-soaked, talking sock puppet. If it doesn’t alarm you, I don’t know what will.

 

More than meets the eye.

THE L.A. SKYLINE has cleared dramatically since the coronavirus lockdown. It’s stunning. In New Delhi, people can see the Himalaya for the first time in decades. This is a spectacular reminder of what life is supposed to look like. And yet, this change is essentially meaningless if we expect it to remain without any effort on our part.

Worse still, what we don’t see is the CO2 lingering, way up in the stratosphere. It is invisible. And, it has not gone away. In fact, it will continue to ripen for decades before its full impact is felt. Clearing skies, while beautiful, can be deeply misleading. The real danger lurks beyond. Either we perceive it through science or we doom our future selves to a cataclysm of suffering beyond comprehension.

Hope in imagining.

ANOTHER RECYCLED POST from a few weeks ago. We have profoundly changed our behavior in the face of Covid-19. We can profoundly change in the face of the climate crisis. If we choose.  Maybe this post will help. If it does inspire you, please share with friends. Hope will not share itself. Nor will it be on the nightly news.

 

A marching song for action.

A FINAL RECYCLED POST, now offered as a Happy Earth Day rabble rousing fight song in support of 50 years of battle for sanity and life against a growing, darkly sinister assault on our socio-economic-political systems. The richest, most polluting, sociopathic and destructive industries on earth are not going to willingly release their vice grip on dominance and power. It’s up to me. And, it’s up to you. Or it’s not. Likewise, please share if this inspires you.

Earth Day has no meaning unless we act.

Thanks for all you do.

 

 

For the Birds

Branching Out While Cooped Up.

Home, Sweet, Downy Woodpecker Home…

HAVING SET OUT a few bird feeders during the winter, it just seemed natural to extend our welcome to nesting as well. And since we’re stuck home nesting ourselves, what better time? So an old Reno buddy and I went in on a really cheap but actually pretty okay little table saw* and I learned how to make birdhouses.

Turns out birds are kind of fussy about certain details: internal dimensions, hole size and placement, ventilation—and NO, absolutely no dowel in front to perch on (predators love to perch on them too. Who knew!?). So, having a little extra time on my hands anyway, I read up about their preferences and made three slightly different versions, ones specifically for bluebirds, chickadees and downy woodpeckers. Whether those species, or any other, show up is yet to be revealed. But building birdhouses out of rough cedar fencing planks is a bunch of fun because good enough is more than good enough. Heirloom furniture this is not. So now, if any birds actually move in, that will just be a bonus.

*Yet Another Unkind Cut.

DAMNED if I do, damned if I don’t. Of course, that new, cheap but okay table saw is not-in-the-too-distant-future toxic landfill, made of bio-indestructible plastics and metals not found in nature. And at that price, how many Chinese political prisoners were harmed making this movie? The dilemma seems irresolvable. If I make myself—and some birds—happy, I unavoidably help to eventually destroy their habitat. And ours. Makes me crazy. No perfect choices. And far fewer good ones than I generally assume, once analyzed. Just gotta go on living, doing my best to be mindful.

In Case You Missed It…

  • Mattie’s Song. Channeled wisdom inspired by the late child prodigy poet and philosopher Mattie Stupanek. Sonic comfort for anxious times, available free on YouTube by clicking the CD cover photo.

 

Cave or Cocoon?

A Chance to Choose.

THE WORLD as we’ve known it has come to a standstill. What do we do now? What will it be when we reemerge? What will we be?

Like bears coming out of hibernation, we can ravenously return to our former life of consumption, ignoring the consequences. Or, while we await our reemergence, might we imagine a different model? A different way of being in the world? Do we hibernate in our virtual caves awaiting “spring” or do we mindfully create something new, a chrysalis of intent, and use this time to transform ourselves and our future into one of new purpose, hope and meaning?

The world we’ve withdrawn from is dying. We are killing it. If we don’t want it to die, we must change. Like a gift from the gods, we have been given this chance, maybe a last chance. What we do with it is up to us.

What we must do to survive on earth is simple in the abstract:

  • Cease burning fossil fuels.
  • Cease manufacturing and releasing toxic waste.
  • Create a sustainable economy (not based, like cancer, on escalating growth), one that nurtures life.
  • Clean our oceans, lands, rivers and sky.

How to do that is the challenge, a challenge so overwhelming that many will not even engage in considering it, let alone confronting it. And besides, who has had the time to consider any of this in the former frenzy of everyday life? For many decades, I didn’t.

But what else have we got to do now? Binge watch the same stories retelling the same cultural myths of redemptive violence, heroic dominance and sanctified indulgence? The same myths that encouraged and enabled this assault on the earth, its ecology and indigenous peoples?

That’s one choice.

Or go within and discern a new purpose, a new work, a new way of being alive, fresh and inspired. Then fuse with that vision and emerge anew.

Our world has all but stopped. It will start up again. When it does, we can try to return to what it was before—continuing a sleepwalk towards a living nightmare of horrors and deprivations. Or, we can commit to remaking it into something that nurtures body, mind, spirit and all of life. Of course there are vast, powerful, entrenched centers of power that will resist such change with violence and rage—the very forces that created the ecological, existential crisis we now face. They will dangle tantalizing comforts while threatening those who resist. And we can succumb. Again.

Or we can take this time to transform and reawaken our innate power to create community, harmony and beauty in this world. Yes, there will be profound loss and grief for the people and things we will have lost. Suffering is part of life, it is the path to wisdom.  But powerlessness is not, hopelessness is not, despair is not.

We have the power to change our world. It’s in our hands. Do we dare dream? Do we dare act? Will we take the risk—for ourselves, our children and their future? And that includes me, who has yet to do much of anything. Still…

…We are the people we have been waiting for. Or no one is.

It’s up to me and it’s up to you…

 

Hopi Elders’ Prophecy

Hopi Elders — June 8, 2000

“YOU HAVE BEEN telling people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered…

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?

Know your garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for your leader.”

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, “This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word ‘struggle’ from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

 

Coping with COVID-19

“re: Centering” Knocked Off Center.

WOW! That was fast.

And with a gaslighting, vainglorious president and his science-phobic, creationist VP in charge, everything destined to be bad based on optimal contagion mapping will now, regrettably, become far more catastrophic—both in velocity and saturation. Whatever public health guardrails were in place had already been recklessly removed by this team; and predictably but tragically, truth was the first coronavirus casualty in America. We are basically on our own to survive the onslaught.

While the blue wave is optimal, in my clinical experience as a hospital chaplain, the graph’s capacity threshold is optimistic. As it is, ICU beds are rarely unoccupied and new respirators cannot be ordered in bulk. Rational, fact-based personal prevention actions are our best hope. — Graph courtesy FlattenTheCurve.com

Panic won’t help (it never does), so be sensible. Don’t hoard. Be kind. It appears most of us will get this at some point; but the slower the spread, the better. Meanwhile, be mindful of your own health and emotional balance.

For me, I’ll be doing more recording at home, focusing on some of my more uplifting songs. Can’t hurt! And I’m way behind the curve of a song a month anyway. In the meantime, most of my climate activism will be on hold, although I intend to keep my Fridays For Future fasting (ending with dinner, just to be sensible) and curbside gathering going as long as reasonably advised. Can’t stop now. Even when the sun is eclipsed by the moon, it’s still there. Same with the climate crisis.

We can only do our best. Be careful. Stay well.

It’s up to me and it’s up to you…

 

 

 

 

 

re: Centering


Stepping Back. Moving Forward.

SINCE RETURNING to Reno, I’ve been hyper-focused on helping to mitigate the climate crisis. That’s no secret. Friday fasts, speaking out, finding local groups, attending meetings, designing graphics, writing songs, making videos, standing on street corners waving signs—all the while cajoling all of you to become more active: that’s been my life. But, dire as the situation is, and science suggests it’s a great deal more dire than most people I know acknowledge—to me, anyway—there is still more to life than activism.

Ironically, since I initially started this website and blog to share my music, it’s those songs that have recently brought me back to that part of myself. The backstory is I’ve offered to do a few of them at the Unitarian Church this Sunday after the service to see if the few congregants that show up might like them enough to hear more in a more formal context. They may. They may not. But I’ve rediscovered them and am pleased to make their reacquaintance. To me, they feel more like cosmic gifts than THINGS I’VE CREATED and I’m honored to be their caretaker.

I doubt the world will ever take note of them, but that’s okay. They bring me back to parts of myself that are too easy overridden when the frenzy of busyness overwhelms. They grace me with a sense of balance in a profoundly unbalanced time.

And that’s what I have to share this week.

Meanwhile, the climate battles continue. Whether we prevail depends on whether we engage. We are the people we have been waiting for. Or not.

It’s up to me and it’s up to you…

 

Slow News Week

Eggs incubating. Not quite ready to count new chicks.

NOT MUCH to report this week. Most projects in gestation, not ready for hatching. I did design a set of (ironically, non-bio-degradable) headers for our CCL/Fridays For Future tabletop display to make our mission more clear to bystanders.

My Up to Me” music video is up to 210 hits, not exactly viral but at least a few more people have heard it, maybe been inspired. Our “Fridays For Future” gatherings average 6 to 7 participants each week and we are looking for a more impactful venue; Reno City Hall is a bit of a ghost town late Friday afternoons. And still no students, so trying to figure out how to reach them. I’m open to suggestion.

Meantime, while the Democratic debates are beginning to focus on catastrophic climate change, which is a relief, I’ve yet to hear anything on the actual costs of confronting it. Yes, there will be millions of new, well paying jobs, but there is also a profound level of change and sacrifice required that is not being addressed. Is it a failure of democracy that people cannot be asked to even consider sacrificing anything or the overwhelming power of the corporate media state that will not allow the consideration? Or, both and?

What with the oceans choked with plastic and landfills overflowing with non-degradable garbage, it should be obvious we cannot consume our way out of this crisis. It should be. Near as I can tell, it’s not.

The irony is that our environmentally destructive, throw-away consumer culture has not led to happiness. Instead, alienation, depression, addiction and apathy are the norm. The other irony is action inspires connection and connection inspires happiness. You want happiness, get involved.

It’s up to me and it’s up to you…

 

 

 

 

 

What a Short, Strange Trip…

My Six-month Turnaround

AS SOME may remember, it was just six months ago I started FASTING for our FUTURE by the river, alone with my sign and handouts (thank you Reno Type). It was an act of desperation following a precipitous fall into a  profound “walking depression” brought about by reentering Reno after 12 years and metaphorically colliding with its explosive growth in traffic, sprawl and frenetic intensity.

It was all madness. We were clearly doomed. There was no hope.

The fruits of that depression, the listeners out there may recall, was the writing and recording my dystopian Final Days of History last summer. That was then. That was me hitting bottom.

Then, I somehow shook off my lethargy, got into action and found my way into Reno’s fledgling community of climate activists. That led to my solo fasting becoming a weekly gathering, fasting optional, and my music taking a radical turn towards inspiration.

Up to Me, Up to You was released just over two weeks ago. So far, it’s achieved 186 views on YouTube and six likes and counting—for someone with an anti-social-media, online non-presence, that’s equivalent of going Platinum!  A couple of regional climate groups have committed to using it in their outreach efforts. Friends are including it in their social media posts. Things are moving.

And the Point Is…

THE POINT is NOT ABOUT ME. The point is that doing nothing but despairing is depressing. The point is that getting involved is energizing—and it energizes other people. The point is if I can do this, someone with the innate leadership ability of a lemming, then anyone can. The point is, YOU CAN DO THIS TOO.

The point is that taking on an apparently doomed task because it is what needs to be done is energizing, engaging, fun, positive and powerful. And change can happen quickly! For me, all this happened in just six months.

The point is YOU CAN DO THIS TOO!

If you’re concerned but not engaged, wake up, get involved. We have everything we need to succeed in abetting the most catastrophic climate change except the commitment as a people to stand up and force the systemic changes needed. Of course, positive change is happening. Solar, wind, electric cars are all coming online. But, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear, it is not happening fast enough. And it will not happen fast enough unless we make it. In which case, we are doomed.

There are multiple ways to engage. Here’s an annotated LIST of some of them. Just scroll down to find the one that speaks to you.

It’s up to me and it’s up to you…