KOEM again, my friend?
LAST WEEK’S midterm election was a mixed bag in Washington. Won some, lost many. The most discouraging loss was the carbon fee initiative that would have launched a serious, better-late-than-never effort to bend the arc of catastrophic climate change back to devastating, but perhaps survivable.
Once again, the Big Oil Boys demonstrated they can fool enough of the people all of the time to continue their highly profitable tap dance to the apocalypse. All it took was a $32 million fear-mongering, fact-mangling media blitz—shattering the previous record for corporate spending on a state initiative by more than $12 million!
So, we lost this one by ten points. And so it goes. We either start winning some of these or lose everything. And the environment did have some significant wins this time around. It ain’t all bad. Like the song says, “The people are rising, their battle’s just begun…”
Speaking of which, I am getting some interest in my battle cry environmental anthem “Don’t Hear Nothin.'” If you haven’t heard it, hear it HERE.
If you like it, share it.
And how about those explosive fires in California? In November! Anyone else think that’s peculiar? If you haven’t yet gone to 350.org, please do so now.
We only have one planet—and one chance to save it.
JUST IN TIME to celebrate, or ruminate, the mid-term election, my Song of the Month for November will be a remake of “Don’t Hear Nothin.'” The original ending never felt right, so I recently fussed with it for a week or so and think I finally got it. I’m in the midst of recording the studio mix. As a teaser of sorts, this will be the cover…
You might say I’m on a climate cataclysm tear these days. You’d be right. I don’t understand our apparent indifference about something we are causing and can still somewhat correct if we’re willing to change. That seems to be the rub though: change. Although most Americans are at least dimly aware of what’s happening, collectively we’re like a deer in the headlights, unwilling or unable to make a decision to change direction.
I’m reading a book called “Don’t Even Think About It,” by George Marshall exploring the psychology behind our insidious climate denial. It references Earnest Becker, one of my intellectual heroes, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Denial of Death” in the ’70s. Google it. His theories about how we behave when faced with death mirror exactly what we’re doing collectively with climate change: an infantile regression into tribalism, rage and defiance. Sound familiar? It seems our cultural taboo about facing and accepting death is literally killing us.
Will we wake up in time? I have no idea. I’m awake. And it feels lonely sometimes. If you’re also awake—and maybe you all are but just don’t talk to me about it—you can let me know or better yet, wake up somebody else. Time is running out.
Meanwhile, a song is coming that might make some small difference. If you agree, please share it.
November Post Script: I just posted the song on YouTube
NOTE: A revised version of an August 25th post—tweaking a few lines of the poem. Otherwise, the same story.
A FORMER colleague is visiting Spokane over the weekend. We had worked together on the Palliative Care Team at Sacred Heart many moons ago. She is now the Medical Director at a hospice in Indiana and we got to talking about her new job; as we spoke, I was transported in the Way Back Machineto a former time, place and space. While back there, this poem appeared.
Parental advisory: It’s about death and dying.
Having had stage-3 cancer twice along with a supposedly irreversible and terminal post-op complication,* I’ve become well acquainted with death. I’d say we were already old friends when we first met in this lifetime.
I think this poem is for anyone whose body has scheduled a preliminary meeting with him. If so, I hope it’s helpful.
And so it goes…
Prior post here.
*We got it reversed through non-medically-sanctioned means. Medical science knows a lot, but it doesn’t know everything.
FOR THE LAST three years, I’ve donated the design for the local NAACP’s annual fundraising banquet souvenir booklet. The back story is that four years ago Marianne and I were invited to attend the banquet by a friend and former colleague at Sacred Heart. It was a sparkling gala, filled with Spokane’s movers and shakers, turned out in their finest.
The souvenir program, however, was so badly thrown together I felt embarrassed for the organizers and volunteered to design their future booklets. Reparations, I call it, and as such owe them a new design every year for, approximately, the next 500 years.
The organizers always insist I put in a small quarter-page ad for myself, although I have nothing of interest to advertise. Awkward. This year though, I think I got it right and wanted to share it with you.
As you may or may not know, the UN Council on Climate Change—a consortium of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists—recently released a report unequivically stating that humanity has twelve years left to seriously transition from fossil fuels or cross a tipping point into an irreversible climate cataclysm. Within decades of that, certainly less than a century, civilization will collapse and most, if not all, of humanity will die excruciating deaths along with most creatures living today.
Curiously, no one I know is talking about it. Seems we can’t be bothered. The few comments I hear on the media echo the denials of the oil barons and their amoral minions. It’s a strange alternate reality where even everyday evidence doesn’t matter (Hurricane Michael anyone?) and well-established, peer-reviewed, scientific facts and projections are considered too controversial to mention in social gatherings.
I’m sickened by the likelihood we will destroy this miracle of a living earth due to complacency, but I can’t stop it from happening. I do what I can to raise awareness—write letters, make calls, attend rallies, participate in 350.org activities—but have little impact, even among friends. I wonder sometimes why I bother. I have no children; when I die, I’m gone. For those with children and grandchildren, whose lives they would give their own for today, this apparent indifference to the unimaginable suffering they will endure in the future is beyond my comprehension.
So I made this little ad for the banquet program. Maybe it will help. Who knows?
OCCASIONALLY a thought bubble floats by that looks and feels like it could be a bumper sticker. For some time, years even, I’ve resisted the urge to foist any of them on the world. In a moment of weakness, I have formatted a few to foist upon you. Was that wise, I wonder? Only time, and you, can tell…
TWO sets. Two gatherings. People actually stopped, sat and listened! For an entire hour! That’s a rare treat for an old, unknown singer-songwriter in this relentlessly accelerating era of information assault.
As they say, support the local arts. It’s easy. You don’t even have to feed a musician. Just listen!