Covid PSA

Not Just Another Flu.

ALTHOUGH last week’s post on racism and democracy generated much positive feedback, and I intend to continue that discussion, there is an element of the media’s relentless Covid-19 coverage that has pushed itself to the forefront of my consciousness—because it remains overlooked even as various states haphazardly reopen (and re-close): that more than a few Covid SURVIVORS will never fully recover.

I bring this up now because 1) it is an annoying, even reckless journalistic oversight; and 2) meanwhile, many of us, including me, are growing tired of the limitations imposed to “flatten the curve” of infections: the social isolation, social distancing, wearing of masks everywhere, relentless hand washing—the novelty of all this has long since worn off and many of us, including me, are tempted to at least bend some corners for social and emotional relief. After all, it’s only about one percent who die from Covid, right? And many of those were already in bad health and/or had pre-existing conditions, right?

Yes. But…

What is rarely mentioned is the damage and debilitation—possibly permanent—Covid can cause a significant portion of the 99 percent who do survive, including those who were perfectly heathy before being infected.

  • This from Science News: “In 70 patients who survived COVID-19 pneumonia, 66 had some level of lung damage visible in CT scans taken before hospital discharge.”
  • Or from the UK’s Business Insider: “The worst-hit coronavirus survivors could be left with lung damage that takes up to 15 years to heal.”
  • Or Gulf News: “1 in 3 survivors may suffer ‘irreversible’ lung damage.”

So if, like me, you’re tired of the social isolation, etc., etc., just try to imagine how tired you might become of trying catch your breath every time you walk across the room for the next decade—or possibly even the rest of your life, which could also be shortened.

The point being: now is not the time to relax preventive disciplines. I don’t much like it either, but…

…Covid-19 is not just another flu.

Just saying. Stay safe. Stay well.

 


POSTSCRIPT: ON A HAPPIER NOTE…

LIKE A lightning bug in a jar, Friday night’s live-streamed, seven-song Covid Couch Concert 2.0 was captured and its remaining luminescence can be viewed in the safe isolation of one’s own home on my YouTube channel. The theme: people I have known or known of. Was fun to make. Might even be fun to watch. You never know…

 

Unfathomable…

But What Do I Know?

VERY LITTLE, when it comes to American Black history. What little I do know is horrifying.

I’m currently reading These Truths by Jill Lapore, an overview of American history from Columbus to the present. In it, I learned that the seeds of slavery and democracy were both planted in the colonies in the same year, 1619. The first slaves (kidnapped from Africa, then stolen at sea by pirates) were sold there just when the first gathering of the colonial governing bodies met to discuss increasing their democratic representation. That’s right. Slavery for you. Democracy for me.

Insanely illogical as it may seem, in America these polar opposites flourished together, like a double helix of depravity and inspiration, apparently inseparable yet grotesquely incompatible. It’s a story of moral madness, a damning testimony to the ease with which we humans see things as we want to see them and not as they really are.

That said, this weekend’s Juneteenth is a celebration of the first official step in freeing those slaves. One hundred and sixty years later, we are still not done; institutional racism remains rampant, cloaked by the long shadow cast by our founders; but let us join our African American brothers and sisters, celebrate our progress—slow, agonizing, cruel and violent as it has been—and then devote ourselves to bringing light to the darkness and finishing the job.


POSTSCRIPT: BODHI BILL COUCH CONCERT 2.0

PERHAPS a celebration of a different sort. A seven song set of stories based on people I’ve known—or known about.

Couch concert details:

  • Friday, June 26, 2020
  • 7 pm PDT start
  • Bodhi Bill Miller channel on YouTube.com

 

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.”

 

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…”