Quarantined

To Know or Not to Know…

IT’S A waiting game.

Ten days ago, I spent an hour with a friend in his basement shop routing some boards for a home project. He’d gotten a Covid test that morning because it was required by his job, not because he’d been exposed. Or so he thought. His test came back positive a week later, although fortunately he remains asymptomatic. Consequently, I’ve had to quarantine while I wait for my test results—in yet another week.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Meanwhile, I’m locked down—only going out when absolutely necessary, masked, lathered with Purell, and socially distanced. And, it’s a drag.

I was surprised to notice a difference, since I/we have been mostly hunkered down since April as it is. Maybe this was just that last turn of the screw, last nudge to the edge of the abyss. I now feel a bit listless, purposeless, adrift, floating on an ocean of depression—not in it, but on it; conscious of it. I keep busy, but am aware I’m keeping myself busy; not quite the same as being engrossed. It’s an effort.

We are social animals. Zoom helps, but isn’t the same as being together. I wonder about prisoners in solitary confinement, how they cope or don’t cope. Compared to them, I’m living in splendor and yet still feel like I’m slowly sinking.

Unless I test positive, my confinement ends Thursday (otherwise, the following Thursday). Odds are I’ll survive my mini ordeal, but it has been a profound reminder of how we are all connected, all needing the ebb and flow of human interaction to thrive.

The American myth of rugged individualism is neither true nor life affirming. Not that it’s going to change anytime soon; myths run deep. But truth, it seems, runs even deeper.

 

Reality Bites

YOU MAY have heard the President taunted Covid-19 one time too many, ending up in Walter Reed Hospital while bringing down several senior White House advisors and Republican leaders with him. As if a world record of 208,000 deaths in six months and stubbornly rising numbers of new infections were not enough to get their attention or respect. They weren’t. They may never be. What can I say? A virus doesn’t care what anybody believes.

Climateers Shift Gears

I’VE CHANGED the upcoming weekly Climateers cartoons on Instagram to a simple voting message up to the election. Here’s a sneak preview…

The more traditional comic style will return after the election—or so I hope. Seemed more appropriate to laser-focus on voting right now because it’s game over for climate (and civilization as we know it) if we allow the President and his Petroleum Party to somehow seize another term (even from an immovable 10-12 point deficit).

The facts are in; we are approaching our final climate tipping point in the next ten years or less. If we squander the next four, our slide into catastrophic climate change will be irreversible.

Reality bites…

It’s up to me. And it’s up to you…

 

Climateer Comix

Putting Fun Back in Fundamental Change.

THE CLIMATE crisis is, generally, not very funny. And talking about it is, generally, no fun at all. So why not combine the two and see what happens; like multiplying two negative numbers? How that creates a positive number is still beyond me, but apparently it does. So I did, and this is what happened…

The “Casey and Claus” cartoon strip will be a weekly posting on our Climateers Instagram site. The hope, of course, is that it attracts more students to engage in climate action—including motivating their parents and grandparents to also engage. Could be a good thing.

Posted Wednesday mornings on Climateers

“Casey” (a kind of cool, gender-neutral name) is the blue “Climateer” and “Claus” is his trusty dog (and generator of subordinate clause punchlines). The PhotoShop-based template I built will simplify production—less than two hours per cartoon, start to finish. That’s manageable. Hope you enjoy them.

See you in the funny papers.

Sharing a Facebook Post.

MOST OF my FB posts are fairly pedestrian, but this one seemed to capture what I’ve been trying to say and do to inspire (cajole?) environmental engagement—so I wanted to share it beyond a small circle of Facebook friends. Maybe it will help? Ya never know. Goes like this:

“Five million acres burned, thousands of homes destroyed, dozens dead or missing, half a million evacuated, no end in sight. And we’re only in the beginning of the 2020 fire season. This is what hope without action looks like…”

What else can I say?

It’s up to me. And it’s up to you…

 

 

Vote Climate

…as if your life depended on it.

YOU MAY have heard there’s an election coming up. It’s true—although it may turn out to be more of an exorcism. We shall see. And perhaps, endure.

That being said, it’s probably no surprise that for me—along with the survival of the few remaining democratic principles America started with—climate remains the clincher. No climate stability, no civilization; sooner rather than later. And climate is no longer stable. The evidence for that is everywhere.

In response, Climateers, our fledgling, do-it-yourself activist group, is urging its followers to “Vote Climate” with a series of postings I designed, ending on election day. Here are a few samples:

You can see the series as it appears, every Friday until the election, by following Climateers on Instagram. It’s free. It’s easy. It’s the right thing to do.

And if you like one, please share it.

It’s up to me. And it’s up to you…

 

Missing Links

…for Kids to Engage.

CLIMATEERS is steadily building a base of content and connection on Instagram with a series of entertaining short videos. Here are some links for your viewing pleasure:

It’s a start. We’re hoping to inspire students to get involved in creating and sharing their own climate activism to inspire other students to do the same. May work. May not work. Worth a try.

If you know any students (from kindergarten through grad school) who might want to engage, please turn them on to Climateers at Instagram.

MEANWHILE, obscured by appropriate but overwhelming Covid, electoral and economic media saturation, the climate crisis escalates. Our emissions continue increasing. Global heat continues rising. Wildfires are now infernos. Hurricanes are now apocalyptic. Irreversibly rising oceans are now also contaminated with toxic plastic garbage. In the face of this relentless reality, hope without action is wishful thinking—and nature doesn’t care what we wishfully think.

Only action matters. But, if we choose, we can do this.

It’s up to me. And it’s up to you…

 

 

Potpourri 2.0

Compost for Spring?

SOME WEEKS, it just feels like everything is turning to shit. Which is, after all, part of the natural cycle. Turn to shit, turn to compost, return to earth, die into winter, then resurrect in spring, renewed and refreshed.

In spring. But not today. Can’t be happy all the time.

For those who watched my Couch Concert 3.0 live, I thank you for your support and TLC. It will be my last. It’s insane, being my own producer, director, set designer, lighting director, audio engineer, videographer, technical director and, oh yeah, performer—live, in real time, singing into the void.* Not fun.

Instead, I’m returning to my neglected commitment of recording a “Song of the Month” every month. I’ve got enough material to keep me busy through the next year and beyond, so if you find enjoyment and meaning in my songs, I’ll keep them coming for you. If not, then they’re more easily ignored in this format. Either way, I think I’ve found the perfect price point for every budget.

 

Confronting a Climate of Complacency?

MAKING incremental progress with Climateers: Our little group is gathering youth on Instagram, where they live, working to inspire them into climate action—in the world and, at home, in their families.

Based on my own, scientifically unsound, anecdotal peer review, I’ve come to the conclusion that most Boomers, Gen-Xers, and older Millennials are aware they/we are currently losing our life or death battle with the unforgiving physics of climate change, but aren’t willing to endure any significant loss of comfort or convenience to retard its advance. Apparently, that’s just too much to ask.

So I’m planning on encouraging their children to question their complacency. If reasoning, educated adults won’t face reality on their own, act on the evidence that is unfolding all around them, or even be slightly roused from their trance of consumption by the guilt of destroying their host planet, maybe they will respond when their children and grandchildren ask why they continue this relentless indulgence, destroying all semblance of hope for them, their own flesh and blood, in the foreseeable future—and essentially, forever.

Then, recording their responses and posting them online for all to see.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

 

Ending on a Happy Note.

WE HAVE our first feathered tenant. A Downy Woodpecker has taken possession of one of our early spring birdhouses; curiously, the one designed, built and placed for, of all things, a Downy Woodpecker! How did it know? Will wonders ever cease!?

So, life goes on. And might even keep going on…

It’s up to me. And it’s up to you…

 


*  I didn’t post the video. The sound was unexpectedly hot and harsh; the performance, too meandering; and, overall, the entire production fell far short of expectations. So it goes.

Potpourri

A Little of This, a Little of That.

YOU MAY have noticed I didn’t post anything last week. Although the chaos of our times continues to accelerate, and opportunities for discussion and engagement abound, sometimes a blog just does not want to be written.

But that was last week…

C O M I N G   A T T R A C T I O N S

1) Climateers Update.

I JUST completed our first Climateers Pod Squad video prototype. The storyline is about dog food, specifically the remarkably indestructible and non-recyclable plastic bag it came in—a typical, mundane, daily annoyance for anyone paying attention to the avalanche of plastic that flows through our lives and into the trash. This particular single-use sack was so incredibly indestructible I decided to write a polite complaint and mail it along with the bag to the manufacturer’s CEO—something I’ve never done before.

Then I realized this action could also be a good demonstration project of our Climateers concept of documented and shared individual creative activism. So I photographed the process, added an upbeat music track and ended up with a surprisingly compelling result.

This 1-minute, animated slideshow has not yet been posted because that is currently beyond my level of Instagram competency, but it will be soon. In the meantime, you can have a sneak preview HERE.

2) Bodhi Bill is Back on the Couch.

IN THESE dark Covid times, death is all around. This may present an opportune time to share the experiences that motivated me to work with the dying. Or it may not. Your call.

3) Third Crime is the Charm.

AMID AMERICA’S criminally mismanaged Covid pandemic response and resulting economic free fall—neither of which had to be catastrophic but now are irrevocably so—the climate crisis continues to accelerate past our feeble attempts, so far, to contain it. This year is on track to be the hottest year in human existence. Yet silent complacency remains the fashionable response.

Offered once again is my fight song for those willing to engage in more than despair or denial. Turns out, it’s fun to fight back. Who knew!?

Stay safe. Stay strong. And stay engaged.

 

 

Serendipity

Changing Climate Change.

LAST YEAR, about this time, I began a fool’s errand. Having just returned to Reno, horrified by its explosive growth—doubling in just 12 years—and struggling to find any local climate action groups, I designed a poster and some fliers and began “Fasting for the Future” by the Truckee River on Saturdays. It appeared to make no difference, but one person happened to hear about it and also began fasting one day a week, on Fridays. We met up, made signs and stood out by City Hall and over time a few more joined in until we became a dedicated group of five elders, more or less acting as Reno’s placeholders for the international, youth-led Fridays For Future activists. And yet, still not making much of an impact.

Then Covid hit. We abandoned the sidewalk and continued to meet on Zoom, trying to figure out what to do next. Regrettably, the criminally negligent federal response guaranteed Covid would expand its death march through the country, unabated, for the indefinite future; we were not going to be returning to the sidewalk any time soon, whatever that might be worth.

Then we got lucky. An activist high school student along with a newly-minted Climate Studies PhD and UNR instructor joined in, taking us into a new direction online via Instagram. We fused ideas and inspirations to launch a new vision and Instagram account: Climateers.

The idea is to inspire “pod” groups of 2 to 5 “Climateers” to gather and create actions that can be done virtually or in small, safe settings, then upload their videos to our Instagram site. We’re starting with our UNR instructor’s summer class and will see how it goes. There’s not much there yet; we’ve just begun.

Two critical issues we are addressing: 1) Although Covid’s relentless toll is dominating the news, the climate crisis continues to worsen, irreversibly threatening everyone’s comfort, convenience and even survival; and, 2) Covid is forcing everyone to act virtually.

So maybe we’ll inspire people to create pods, sharing their results and inspiring others to do the same. And maybe not. Hard to predict. But we do have a dedicated group of seven to try and make it happen. That’s a good start. And maybe you can help spread the word or even create your own pod.

It’s up to me and it’s up to you…