Tuesday, May 07, 2019

A Brief Check In


Hawk on our neighbor's roof, keeping an eye on things
I was going to write a post here to explain why we have become so quiet. It's hard to explain the anger and grief about the times we are living in. It has gotten to me in a big way. I fear for the future of this place we call "our country" and for the planet we call our earth. I just don't have the words.

I would love to know what you are doing to manage these times. People have told me that they stop listening to or reading the news. I don't think that would work for me. I like being informed even if it means knowing the worst of it all.

For our blogging friends who don't live in the US, how does our country look to you? And for the ex-pats, I wonder if living out of the country makes you feel any less shocked by the direction we seem to be headed? Roger and I have talked about leaving the country if the unthinkable happens in the 2020 election. But would we really be able to "divorce" ourselves from this place we have lived all of our lives? Does that ever really happen, a separation that makes you feel less attached to the things happening at "home?"

Then the news comes out on Monday about the possible extinction of one million species. ONE MILLION SPECIES! I read the articles and find a particular perspective in them that is actually part of the cause of such a disaster. It's that sense of dominion. The tragedy is discussed in how the extinction may have an impact on human's getting food and water. We are the cause of this catastrophe. I often say to Roger that we, even the most innocent of us, are part of the human impact equivalent of an asteroid in slow motion.

See why I'm not posting much?

How are you? Are you staying sane, and how do you do it?




35 comments:

  1. It looks to me that your country needs all the good people it can get at the moment. All one can do is reduce ones personal carbon footprint to the minimum and occasionally vote for the good guy - if you can find one. Get out there, talk to people, help one another and see beauty wherever if exists. Like Phil Ochs said, "In such ugly times, the only true protest is beauty".

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    1. John-- I so appreciate your perspective. Yes, the US needs all the good people it can get. Thank you for reminding me of Phil Ochs. One of my favorite singer/songwriters. Makes me want to listen to Pleasures of the Harbor again.

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  2. I totally understand why you're feeling as you do, robin. The news from just about everywhere is more than unnerving. Politics in the states seem terrifying to me. While things are better here in Canada, I'm horrified by the extent of corporate capture here and around the world. However, last night, I watched a short video of Kai Chan, UBC professor and co-author of the UN Global Assessment report, talking about what has to happen to bring about change. In a nutshell, he said that individuals shouldn't feel that they have to change greatly, but that we should be standing up to politicians and making them push back against the corporations who are derailing regulations, etc.. You know what I'm doing here with the forests. That is what is going on here. We are being pushed around by corporations. We need to fight back. So I guess that's the answer to how I am dealing with things -- that and starting to organize beach garbage pick-ups. On a personal level. yes, I'm having kind of a hard time in some ways. I am really missing Don lately, and I think it's because I wish I had him here to talk about things, and to just take off and go hiking and canoeing and enjoy what's still out there -- there really is so much happening in the woods, rivers and by the ocean in spite of the bad things going on. Still, even alone, I try not to be so wrapped up in the environmentalism that I don't notice the Flicker poking around in the grass searching for insects, or the queen Bumblebees investigating hollows in the ground where they can lay eggs, or Wood Frog eggs hatching into tadpoles. That still brings me peace and relief in a world that seems hell bent on destruction. The wildlife care on, living and doing their thing, in spite of we humans. I guess that's the way to survive these times. Be like the wildlife.

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    1. bev-- Yes, you are so right about the importance of taking on the politician and corporations. It is unbelievable to me that they don't seem to understand that they have to live on the earth too. Such profound ignorance and selfishness. I love your advice: Be like the wildlife. I will try, my friend, I will try. Thank you.

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  3. I'm a Canadian; but the morning after when I found out Trump had been elected, I fell into a deep funk that lasted a few months. Then, like so many others, I had to stop watching the news. Environmentally, I fear for our planet but have hope that the next generation will continue working towards health. However, the political climate of the U.S. has me very scared. I can only imagine what it must be like for you. I keep hoping that justice and common sense will arise. Keep up the good fight!

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    1. Sandy-- Thank you so much for stopping by. I so appreciate your perspective. It is truly scary here these days, as we lean towards a ruthless lawlessness. I am a brown-skinned Jewish woman, so things look pretty bleak from that perspective as well. Your words make me want to rise up again and fight, and so I shall. Thank you.

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  4. Music sustains me. I remember the first time I heard Joan Baez say, "Action is the antidote to despair."

    Blackbird singing in the dead of night.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99-LoEkAA3w

    I haven't been posting much either and am only visiting a few blogs. I do read the news. I look to those who have survived against all odds and continue to take action, no matter how small.

    During the hour that my friend's ashes were being interred at the Santa Margarita Cemetery by her sister and brother-in-law, I was walking with a friend here in Bellingham and heard the cry of a red-tailed hawk. Neither my friend nor two Asian women who walked by at that time heard the cry.

    I like the idea of hawks keeping an eye on things.

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    1. am-- That's a wonderful Joan Baez quote. Yes. I like that you heard the hawk. I so hope that when humans wake up, the planet can be saved for wildlife. It is their planet too and for their sake we must.

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    2. To add to that exceptional quote: Mother Teresa said "Love is a command to action" + "Action is the antidote to despair" = 'we got this!' Hug long and often. :--)

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  5. dear robin, please post about this as often as you need to help unburden the feelings of disbelief and dread that have seized so many of us. it helped me to read this post, to know I am not alone. Sometimes i dont post about the news, because it would be one long rant, but sometimes maybe i should! I have not watched much of the news this week, just enough to know that that catastrophe continues, and our leaders, and us, we seem powerless to stop the train wreck. The unthinkable could occur in 2020, but if it does no one will ever convince me that it wasn't because the election was hacked. This is my real fear, that there are enough decent people in this country to vote the grifter and the liar and his awful ilk out of office, but our votes will not be properly counted. I am heartened by some of the younger public servants who understand the true urgency of a green new deal.

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    1. 37paddington-- It worries me so much that the next election will be stolen again by Russian interference. I often wonder what it would be like to have a 21st century version of the Freedom Riders who go out and protect both the voters and the legitimacy of the vote. That would make me so happy. We are in the together, my friend. That lifts my heart.

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  6. Good post. Keep on. You're right to listen to news and keep informed. Leaving the country is not really an option. My daughter lives in Chicago. as much as I'd like to see her back in Canada, it isn't going to happen. the trouble with your political troubles is that
    they are spilling across the border to Canada.

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    1. Red-- Yes, I have to stay informed. Before I retired I advised college students who published campus newspapers. Journalism is so important it is protected by the First Amendment. I'm so sorry that our troubles are spilling over to your beautiful country.

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  7. From CCorax-- A poem by William Wordsworth:

    The world is too much with us; late and soon,
    Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
    Little we see in Nature that is ours;
    We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
    This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
    The winds that will be howling at all hours,
    And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
    For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
    It moves us not.-Great God! I'd rather be
    A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
    So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
    Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
    Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
    Or hear old Triton blow his wreath├Ęd horn.

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    1. CCorax-- I love this poem so much. Thank you for this and all the other stuff you send, my friend.

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  8. Well I must admit I stopped watching the news because there is nothing but bad news on. If one speces needs to be extinct and would help the planet it is the Trump one he is causeing no end of problems with it

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    1. Billy-- I love the idea of the Trump species going extinct. That makes me smile. Thank you for that.

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  9. I really identify with this post. You really are right when you say it's hard to describe the anger and grief. I can't put it into words either. I had a fairly active blog up until the election, and I shut it down about two days after the election. I just did not want to put anything into words. I just didn't have it in me, and I also figured that if I did, it would be nothing more than one long, depressing rant. Who wants to hear that when you know others are feeling the same way. But sometimes it's also a good thing to share these feelings with like-minded people. In some way it helps knowing that you're not alone in what you feel. I limit the amount of news I expose myself to. I have to. I still stay informed, but sometimes when I'm feeling really in despair, I'll only glance at headlines here and there. Some days I'll have a total news blackout. Other days when I feel stronger, I read a lot of what's going on. Recently I've been thinking about blogging again, not about politics, but maybe just about anything. Maybe to find some like-minded individuals. I don't know. I love that hawk, by the way.

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    1. Sharon-- Yes, it really is good to share these feelings. It does help to know that we are not alone. I can't tell you how much it means to me to read these comments here. I hope that you do start blogging again. I would so love to see your posts.

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  10. Your post had me thinking deep into the night. We need to have this discussion. On all levels and with everybody. Thank you.

    What bothers me when I have these periods of despair is that in fact, We Know What To Do. And we haven known this for 30 years. Climate change is not something that has suddenly come upon us, the science has been here and it has accumulated and the message was never hidden.
    Some of the earliest scientific evidence came from a study done by Exxon way back in the late 1970s and the findings were quickly picked up by the fossil fuel industry which as a result has put enormous time and energy into suppressing these findings and lobbying the political powers.

    At the same time, bear in mind that science has developed and lots of new findings and concepts have come up to show how we need to act.

    And it's simple, always has been simple: keep fossil fuels in the ground, develop sources of renewabale energy (of which there are plenty), reduce your carbon footprint, reduce meat consumption.

    For us this is easy, seriously so. We have good public transport; a continuously improving cycle path network; government subsidies for house insulation, PV installations and energy storage solutions; many employers provide interest free loans for electric cars, electric bicycles or offer a leasing scheme; in most cities, postal and other delivery services use electric vehicles/bicycles and so on.
    All that's needed is for us to change some of our ways and to move into a new comfort zone.

    Obviously, individual actions are never enough and especially in your country, the political will is not there.

    In my country, climate change is on the news, especially in recent weeks due to Friday4 Future rallies and also because of the upcoming the elections for the European parliament. Deniers or skeptics are no longer taken seriously in the mainstream media.
    It seems the discussion is now on how and how rapidly can measures be introduced, like a carbon tax, driving restrictions in inner cities, tax on inland flights etc.
    The political powers are slowly waking up to the fact that climate change must be dealt with and fast. There is some movement and a lot of pressure from the population. Time will tell.

    I find promising the news from Sweden where since Greta Thunberg's school strike (the Swedish girl), the number of inland and short distance flight has gone done drastically and rail companies are inundated with ticket requests.

    I don't believe it's too late, I am refusing to just hand it over to doom and gloom. I feel rage, yes, and I am ready to turn it with my despair into obstruction, protesting and calling for change in a much much louder voice than before. I will not hand over our beautiful planet to the ransackers without a fight.
    There are days when I feel confident that we've got it, other days are not so good. I no longer waste my time getting worked up about deniers and politicians that get it wrong. You can do this all night long and it will do nobody any good.

    Keep your eyes on the real aim, find people to share, a group you can join and transform your despair into positive energy. That's what we need to do now.

    We had a leaflet in our postbox from the local primary school kids asking us to do not one but ten things every day to help fight climate change. They offer a list of 25 tasks. These kids are eight years old. They need us.

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    1. Sabine-- Your comment filled me with so much hope. There are answers, yes, there really are. It would be such a gift to our planet if we would enact the really important changes. Will we? I love knowing that your country is taking this all very seriously. I am jealous! We have one Democratic candidate right now who is serious about climate change. His name is hardly ever mentioned, and he should be a real contender but won't be. I'm not sure any of the big names running have the environment on their minds. We need such a big march to wake and shake things up. You have inspired me, dear friend Sabine. Thank you.

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  11. I saw the extinction story, too. It's horrible and unthinkable. I don't understand why so many people look at the world and its inhabitants as things to be merely used. It seems like a very Capitalist perspective. I still feel responsible for much of what goes on in the USA, even though I no longer live there -- I guess since I still vote and pay taxes in the states. (And the craziness isn't just confined to the states, as you know. The whole world is crazy. I don't know how much relief you'd get by leaving the country, to be honest!)

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    1. Steve-- I was so hoping to hear from you to know what it feels like to be living in another country and watching us from afar. I think you are right. There won't be much relief. Ah well... guess we're going to have to make our voices heard here.

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  12. I share all your concerns and fears. I take the news slowly since it makes me so very angry. And I write my Congressman and Senator regularly. And I grieve for the loss of people I previously considered friends because of their continued support of Don the Con and the way they "share" on Facebook the very information the Russians are planting. How could I have judged them so very wrong?

    I do much more reading and constantly have music playing. And I may be struck for saying it, but living on borrowed time with cancer helps me stay grounded and appreciate the small things in life, limiting the worries about the big things.

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    1. NCmountainwoman-- I can't imagine what it's like to have friends who are supporters of such a monster. It does reveal so much about someone's inner character to like him. I understand the very rich people liking him, but everyday people? It doesn't make sense. Yes, we are listening to lots of music too and working the garden. We balance the world with as much beauty as we can find.

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  13. I spend a lot of time keeping current. It's sort of an addiction. I know it's not good for me but its hard to quit. To counter the inevitable despair that brings with it I hang out with children a lot. They know about living in the present moment and all it's wonders. If I'm lucky it rubs off on me and lingers for a while. That and binge-ing sci-fi anywhere I can find it. :--) That's what I do. Mostly I think I'm just learning to live with depression. We're survivors. We got this!

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    1. Jsk-- I so love your attitude. We haven't been binge-watching anything, but we have been enjoying the old X-Files lately. Nice to imagine other lifeforms someplace else. I hope we can save the planet.

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  14. Many, many games of Solitaire on my computer.

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    1. Catalyst-- I think I may need a few more games!

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  15. My thinking is very similar to yours. I wonder if it's an age thing for me? This stuff never used to bother me when I was young. Have things really gotten that much worse, or has my perspective changed? I often wonder how a more advanced alien race, looking down on the earth, would view the human species? Would they see all our self destruction and harm we are doing to our planet and take some drastic intervention? To your question about how to stay sane, I have no good answers.

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    1. SPandP-- Yes, I think things have really gotten worse. As much as I hated Nixon, he at least was compelled to play by the rules. I fear we are entering a time where this tyrant doesn't. I would love to see a drastic intervention by aliens. It would make a great movie!

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  16. After reading your post, Robin, I also read all the comments preceding my own. So many were well-phrased ands obviously given much consideration. I do watch the news, but only online first thing in the early morning, then not for the rest of the day. Perhaps I have missed some critical happenings this way until the next day. There is so much in the current political administration that I found odious and dangerous. Personally, I've never considered living anywhere other than the U.S. because there is no real "utopia" in my mind. By the way I am also a "Jersey girl" like yourself, but never want to "go home."

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    1. Beatrice-- It's true, there really is no utopia. I've been hoping all of my life. and really things have only gotten worse. My family left New Jersey in 1970, and we have never considered moving back. Almost 50 years out west now and this is definitely home.

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  17. Just popping in to say I know this Mother's Day will be a sadder one for you. Hope your weather allows you to take some lovely walks and see nature in its finest.

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    1. NCmountainwoman-- You are so incredibly thoughtful and kind. Thank you so much for that. The weather has been relentless cloudy and gray with actual rain in the forecast, so no walking. But my twin brother is here visiting, and that's a bit of brightness! Thank you, dear friend.

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