Over the Hill

Climate Conference in Oakland

SHORT BLOG this week. I’m off to the Bay Area for a weekend conference. Burning fossil fuel to try and reduce fossil fuel consumption. It’s a conundrum.

While I’m away, check out the Citizens Climate Lobby. It’s their conference. They have the most sensible plan and strategy out there—sheer genius in my opinion, Dunning Kruger not withstanding.

Take care. Do your best.

“It’s up to me and it’s up to you…”


P O S T S C R I P T

2010 to 2019 was the hottest decade on record. 2019 was the second hottest year, next to 2016. This is not good…

 

re: leaf

Saving the planet, one bite at a time.

YOU MAY KNOW we are also eating our way to extinction. I didn’t. At best, I was only dimly aware of the impact of meat production and consumption on the climate crisis; burning fossil fuels was my focus. Turns out, I was way too narrowly focused; meat may be doing more damage to our planet and our health than anything else.

…it convinced Marianne and I to return to vegetarianism.

I have my friend Larry Shook and two documentary films he recommended to thank for this revelation. If you don’t know them, you should track them down. I found them both on Netflix streaming.

  • The Game Changers. Stories about athletes—including the world’s strongest man—who switched from a meat-based to plant-based diet and dramatically improved their performance. Although, for me, a little over the top on superhuman achievement, Game Changers nonetheless makes a compelling case for not eating meat. Enough that it convinced Marianne and I to return to vegetarianism. Most alarming was realizing the monstrous overconsumption of resources and production of toxic, climate-devastating emissions meat production creates.
  • Forks Over Knives. Primarily based on the work of two doctors, Colin Campbell, PhD, and Caldwell Esselstyne, MD, this film traces the evolution of their research and discoveries that the increasing intake of meat, dairy and refined sugars in America led directly to the explosion of heart disease, cancer and diabetes starting in the 20th century.

The myth of meat.

IT BEGAN in the mid 19th century when highly influential German chemist Justus von Liebig, famous for pioneering organic chemistry, speculated that only meat supported muscle growth and stamina. Due to his prestige, von Liebig’s notions were widely accepted, so much so that when emphatically disproven in 1882, the evidence was ignored. Instead, eight years later, the FDA promoted his assumptions as fact in their first Food Chart. Since then, meat, poultry and dairy interests have thrived and their increasing lobbying power have mostly prevented any actual facts from challenging the status quo.

The hidden costs.

ACCORDING TO these documentaries, besides causing pandemics of unnecessary cancers, heart disease, strokes and other diseases, the meat industry also:

  • Generates 15% of global emissions—equal to all transportation sectors combined.
  • Takes 75% of all available farmland out of production.
  • Wastes 27% of all fresh water consumed.
  • In US, produce 50 time more waste than its people.
  • Consumes 6 times more protein than it produces.
  • Is the largest factor in ongoing global deforestation.

Tastes great. Less costly.

IF ALL America went vegan, it would:

  • Reduce agricultural emissions by 73%.
  • Save 250 thousand gallons of water annually, per person.
  • Dramatically reduce disease and suffering while increasing health.
  • Dramatically reduce our carbon footprint.

I encourage you to check out these videos. Compared to installing solar panels, buying electric cars and/or becoming politically active, switching to a plant-based diet is not only easy and inexpensive (in fact it saves a fortune!), it will improve your health and energy. Plus, unlike say solar panels, it can be very tasty!

Change your diet, improve your health, save the planet.

— Just be smart. Every body is different. You can change gradually. Check with your doctor if you have concerns.

 


P O S T S C R I P T   A U S T R A L I A

SO FAR, 27 people and over a billion animals have burned to death. We are the cause. True, we didn’t start the industrial/agricultural revolutions. True, we can’t change the past. Still, we can change our future trajectory. Or not…

“It’s up to me and it’s up to you…”

 

Sobering Up

Seeing 2020. A reality check.

RESOLUTIONS in hand, time to check our good intentions against reality.

  • All climate crisis talk notwithstanding, global consumption of fossil fuels increased again last year. This is because of us, all of us—especially in America, which as a nation still consumes the most carbon per capita. And, this escalating consumption is nothing less than negligent homicide on a global scale.
  • The planet got hotter. Last September was the hottest on record—1.02 degrees F warmer than the average from 1981-2010.

Although the application of renewables is increasing, nearly exponentially, and electric car sales are set to explode, these trends alone are not enough to stave off an irreversible climate apocalypse in the near future. We have to change. Fundamentally.

And while change brings tremendous opportunities for economic growth and renewal, it also brings emotional pain—a lot of pain. When luxury becomes necessity and indulgence becomes the norm, it is hard—even painful—to embrace restraint, to cut back. And even personal sacrifice, while helpful, will not be enough. The problem is systemic, global. Yet it is all but impossible for governments, particularly democracies, to inflict this kind of pain without an overwhelming demand (France, anyone?). Even then, it’s not guaranteed, but without it, the system—and life as we know it—is doomed. We are not going to consume our way out of this.


Some good news.

Student Climate Strike organizer Akaash Krishnan speaks to crowd of 800-plus demonstrators at City Hall Plaza in Reno September 2019.
  • Kids are waking up and demanding change. The Student Climate Strike last fall attracted more than a million protesters worldwide. More strikes are planned for 2020. A million is a start, but not nearly enough. If you are not joining them, why? Really. Why?
  • And from the Bodhi Bill Department of Shameless Self-Promotion comes this teaser: my upbeat, Pete-Seeger-style, we can solve this climate crisis singalong recording and video is nearing completion. Near as I can tell, it’s the first of its kind; maybe it will inspire more? And better!? Anyway, standby for the “Release Newsletter & Party Planner” in the next few weeks. I hope you will be inspired to share it with others.  Can’t beat the price: free.


P O S T S C R I P T

AUSTRALIA is on fire. All of it. Nineteen people have died so far, burned to death. Half a billion animals have perished. And, it is still out of control. Meanwhile, their Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, claims there is no direct evidence climate change impacted this unprecedented conflagration. That, in a nutshell, is the ignorance and intransigence—at the highest levels of power—our world is facing. It is not supported by a single scientific fact or assessment. Instead, it is based on complacency, convenience and expediency. And, it will not change unless we force it to.

“It’s up to me and it’s up to you…”

 

A New Year Arrives

Hopeful sign: Time’s Person of the Year, Greta Thunberg.

Hopeful resolutions for 2020

  • Burn less carbon. Use more renewables.
  • Buy less stuff. Especially disposable plastic!
  • Recycle more mindfully.
  • Evaluate the true cost of comfort and convenience and choose more thoughtfully.
  • Get more involved in effective climate activism.
  • Find ways to inspire a few more people to do the same.
  • Be more grateful and positive.

So a Happy New Year to all. As my soon-to-be released new song posits, “It’s up to me and it’s up to you…”

 

 

As the Eve Approaches

Reflections on the Mystery

ALTHOUGH I produced far fewer Songs of the Month than I anticipated last year (moving IS disruptive!), I’m proud of the few I did complete. And as we approach the first anniversary of my Chyros Carol, I offer it up again for your Christmas Eve contemplation. Nice things about Christmas songs is they can be repeated!

Link to Chyros Carol

And I’ve been asked to perform the first part, “A Quiet Carol,” at the UUFNN Christmas Eve Service.  It’s a rare pleasure and honor to be simply listened to in this era of relentless messaging. I’m grateful. Plus, the sparse lyric is one of my personal favorites.

Silent nights, angels flights, do I dare believe?
   As the songs linger on through this Christmas eve.
Peace on earth, second birth, can these be achieved?
   Yet the songs linger on every Christmas eve.

 

So let us contemplate the Mystery, appreciate each other and find time for gratitude and joy in the holiday season.

2019 Student Climate Strike in Reno.

Then, come the new year, it’s back to the barricades…

 

One More Thing

‘Tis the Season

I’M REALLY getting sick of stuff. As a dyed-in-the-wool, discerning, all-American compulsive materialist, this has been (and continues to be) a remarkable—if slow, awkward and even sometimes painful—awakening. It didn’t help that I grew up next to and alongside Disneyland, where all things fantasy become embodied in material perfection, and where the future promises an endless stream of brighter and better stuff—the stuff of salvation and happiness.

Perception…

I am aging out of that delusion, to the extent I now see virtually every object I purchase as toxic landfill—not abstractly in some distant future, but actually when I purchase it. This is not pleasant and the fact it is true doesn’t offer me any self-righteous relief. It is distressing, especially in this season of convulsive giving and/or buying.

…Reality

Irony abounds

WHAT BROUGHT ON this recent convulsion was a purchase I needed to make—one more thing—to produce my hopeful climate singalong marching song. My micro studio will only hold four “singalong singers” at a time, so I needed four headphones so they could each sing along without leaking the recorded music tracks into the mics. I had three. I needed four. So, I acquired more landfill and burned more fossil fuel driving across town—in insane holiday traffic—so I could complete an optimistic song about embracing change to live on less consumption and produce less waste.

AKG. Great brand. And 40% off. I should be euphoric. Apparently, my addictions have burned out my former pleasure centers.

And, trapped for two hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I also managed to miss the Fridays for Future event I organize every week downtown. Driving home, instead, with a shiny new box of toxic waste.

The good news is the headphones all worked and I’ve got the first group of four singers “in the can.” Through the voodoo of digital audio, it sounds more like a dozen. Three more foursomes and I’ll have a chorus to rival any hot August nights tent revival service in history. And maybe inspire its own global spiritual awakening…

Audio Sneak Preview:

First verse, first virtual chorus, first mix. Song complete, maybe the end of January?

And, in case you haven’t heard or seen

So there is hope. But it won’t come easy. Not to me anyway…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Santa…

Post Thanksgiving Holiday Wishes

WHILE WORKING on a homemade recording of my upbeat, banjo-driven, call-and-response, “We Are the World” wannabe inspiring singalong on climate change activism, I have come up hard against my limitations. So this could be my wish list for Santa should I visit the mall:

  • I wish I had a more musical voice.
  • I wish I had a better ear for producing and mixing records.
  • I wish I could inspire people to action at least as much as I annoy them.

I don’t think I’m getting any of those wishes fulfilled this year, but hopefully not lump of coal in my stocking either. That would be ironic, I suppose, but not encouraging—even if it was clean coal!

Meanwhile, today is another fasting day for climate awareness. We all do our best.

‘Tis the season!

Thanks. Giving.

Break Fast Friday

ALSO KNOWN as Black Friday, although probably not in honor of any African American contributions to our culture. But it could be. Why not? Better that than simply a glorification of consumption and waste.

Overheard at the Indigenous table during the first Thanksgiving…

Anyway, I’m taking the upcoming, post-Thanksgiving, Fasting for Our Future Friday off in gratitude of the incomprehensible love, abundance, comfort and convenience in my life. Thank you all for being part of it.

Then I’ll be returning to the ramparts to secure a similar—if more sustainable—pursuit of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for future generations.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Hope? Really?

Could be…

IN MY initial, seemingly futile attempts to find something, anything, going on in Reno concerning the climate crisis, the only thing I came across was a local chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby. Okay. Great. Whatever. I’ll join!

“…quite a stunning surprise.”

In truth, I obliquely knew this organization existed, along with dozens of other visionary climate groups crowding a chronically limited social engagement bandwidth, but no more than that. Turns out, I was in for a quite a stunning surprise. CCL, I discovered, has a brilliant plan for cutting CO2 emissions by 40% in ten years and equally brilliant strategy for enacting it into law. Who knew!?

Basically, CCL’s “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act” enacts a carbon fee that will return all the money collected back to citizens every month. This will incentivize a reduction in fossil fuels while making available the funds to help pay for lower carbon alternatives in any way people choose to invest in them. It’s quite an exquisite plan and grassroots political strategy, well worth learning about, so here’s the link:

Check out the Citizens’ Climate Lobby website.

So yes, there is a solution. But, it’s not going to enact itself. I encourage you to take a look and maybe even get involved. Complacency, despair or denial are not helpful strategies for solving our climate crisis. This is. Or could be. Entirely up to us.

Singing up a storm

I’VE BEEN invited to perform my climate song, Don’t Hear Nothin,’ at the Reno Unitarian Church this Sunday, November 17, for their service about the climate crisis. Anyone who wishes to witness my Reno troubadour debut, the service starts at 10:30 at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada, 780 Del Monte Lane, Reno NV 89511.

 

 

 

Another 15 minutes…

 

Fame: fleeting, fickle and, perhaps, futile?

I MANAGED to get my mug squeezed into a corner on the edge of the inside back page of today’s edition of the weekly Reno News & Review. I set out to get our entire fasting trio in the article, but this is what we got—and I’m damn grateful for that. It was free publicity. And, it’s a start. And, maybe another step towards more local awareness.

This is not about me, or us, but the issue itself: awakening ordinary, everyday people to action on the climate crisis. Without that, the system is not presently changing fast enough to save itself. And without that, it’s not going to; no politician is going to risk a career-ending backlash for doing the right thing but getting too far ahead of the people.

People don’t like change. I don’t like change. But, either we change collectively and willingly or our grandchildren’s future descends into a brutal, endless nightmare, a relentless battle of survival in an inhospitable climate of chaos and despair.

The science is clear. Its dire predictions are manifesting daily. Time is running out. Either we act now or we don’t. You. Me. Ordinary people. No one else is coming to save us.

We are the people we have been waiting for.

Or no one is. It’s up to you. It’s up to me. Find a way to engage. Or engage more effectively. Me, I’d rather be doing something else. I like eating. And not annoying everybody I know. So find something to do. And do it.