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.
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
AUSTRALIAis 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.
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!
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.
Then, come the new year, it’s back to the barricades…
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
JEFF, JOHN and I did our second “Fasting for Our Future” Friday at City Hall. Although it was just us again, one upside was our local weekly tabloid, Reno News & Review, came out to chat and take photos. Jeri, the reporter, said we’d be in Thursday’s edition. If so, I’ll forward next week.
Interviewed by the Reno News & Review!
The other upside is that students from the University of Nevada Reno (UNR) will be joining us next week. And maybe a few others. It’s a beginning. I hope. Otherwise, it’s the beginning of the end. Of, like, all civilization. Cheery thought, that.
But wait! There’s more! The other news is I actually wrote an optimistic climate crisis marching song in the Pete Seeger folk tradition, call-and-response, sing-along style, backed by—what else—a 5-string banjo! Can’t get any more optimistic than a banjo.
Now all I need to do is get busy recording. I’m already a month late. Stay tuned…