We are in transition. Moving from Kona, Hawaii, back to the Pacific Northwest.
It is a years long process.
Hawaii is under siege from invasive species. On our citrus farm, the biggest threat is pigs.
Feral pigs live in the hundreds in these parts. Once we undo their damage, we have to fix the farm in such a way that they can’t repeat their piggy, persistent attacks. We are building fences, barriers, and trying many approaches.
Our neighbors use guns and dogs, but never, have they ever, eradicated the pigs, only created space for more pigs! We also have issues with hunting dogs living on chains, barking, gunfire, and big, big trucks that tear up the road.
They are looking for roots, fruit, grubs, and god knows what. They dig holes in the middle of the night, so it’s hard to keep up with them. A mother hog will give birth in the spring to about a dozen piglets. They are both cute and fascinating. They are smart, but also terrifying when they get bigger.
When I think about the damage done to natural habitats, it’s easy to focus on pollution, carbon, burning of toxins to support our way of life, but it’s often overlooked how our introduction of invasive species of both plants and animals causes great disruption.
If you live somewhere that was once native forest or plains, you may not realize what it once looked like. You won’t hear the birds that once lived there, or spot the native flora and fauna.
We all should take a moment to try to envision what a native landscape, or even sea-scape, is supposed to look like. Remembering how our moving around affects everything helps us reflect on what all our moving actually does in the real world.
That way, we have an inspiration to work on recreating harmony, beauty, and hope for the possibility of a nicer world.
It’s better for three things: animals, planet, and YOU
Thank a vegan
In my home we are not vegan.
We appreciate that there are vegans. They are actually doing the world a tremendous favor as leaders in reducing suffering, protecting habitats, and diversifying diets and delicious cooking options.
But, we each hold down at least two jobs. For now, like many people who grew up with the ease of supermarkets, convenience food beckons.
This doesn’t mean we can’t all cut back. Some people still eat meat with every meal. This is a hold-out from the days when there were fewer human beings, more farm land, and less cruelty in factory farming.
Three things to attend
Animals suffer needlessly in factory farming. We can’t in good conscious continue to allow this and still call ourselves humane.
Obviously, the planet too, is suffering. The Amazon is being burned and cleared. Biological diversity and human diversity — the beauty of indigenous peoples suffers.
Finally, what we put in our bodies increases our personal suffering. It is well established now that fat, sugar, caffeine, and processed foods are atrocious, and contribute to heart disease, obesity, cancer, and more.
That is, our foodways are terrible, addictive, and delicious!
There is also a little problem of the next zoonotic virus, like COVID 19 emerged, — but still to come — that will bite us when we bite it.
Keep in mind these three simple reasons to cut back on meat: 1.reduce suffering, 2. reduce suffering, and 3. reduce suffering.
Every day that I can, I intend to write a short piece about what feels to many as the UNRAVELING.
Here in Hawaii, for example, supply chains and COVID, climate crisis (rain) combine to create a huge slop of water under our home, and rain pouring in at an entirely different leak in the house.
Invasive species and unending jungle growth have destroyed our yard with pig pits.
We came home to this after a long trip out to the Pacific NW, which ironically (?) had the longest drought in living history, ignited only by bursts of a June heat dome, and many tons of burning, smoky acres.
We are trying to relocate out there, but again, 2020 and 2021 snapped the supply chains like an ancient redwood tree falling to fire after a thousand year reign.
I will continue to write on Medium, and I will continue to be utterly baffled by how all of this stuff works, especially with someone who avoids social media like the plague that it truly is.
January 2020 did not begin with much hope. Some people feared an outbreak of WWIII with Iran, Iraq, USA, among other players. Civil unrest continued, the world over. Australia is on fire. The US president is being impeached. An outbreak in Wuhan China will take us God knows where. Politics divide friends and family.
Despair of suffering wildlife and human loss could easily overwhelm any caring person. Floods and famine drive the growing spill of refugees. Birds fell out of the sky, a heating ocean, pollution, and more are daily concerns. This is just a tiny fraction of it. But, don’t despair.
I believe that human hope and optimism is the best tool we have. Yes. Have your sorrowful feelings for scorched koalas and dying wombats. It is important to allow human expression, as it makes us realize what work we need to do. It creates the compassion we need.
More than anything else, unite with those you love. Unite, too, with those you disagree with the most. In finding our common ground we have a much better chance to recreate, and clean that ground, and grow human demand to do better with a burgeoning ground swell of hope.
We all have work to do, from daily waste management to reshaping governments. It is the work that it will take to re-grow a healthy attitude, love for one another, and planet.
Happy 2020, and may you find power in participation of hope!
They don’t hate Greta Thunberg, They just don’t Grok her
The far right doesn’t always have the right stuff. A lot of people want to dismiss, or even worse criticize, youth movements fighting for a better world.
The Hong Kong students, and the Parkland teens are just two examples.
Greta Thunberg, recently recognized as Time Magazine 2019 person of the Year, was met with tons of anger from right wing blogs and print screeds to ridicule from the President of the United States.
I think that they think Greta, and her generation, are not grateful for less poverty and hunger in the world. They also charge that much activism is just complaining about how terrible it all is. They see those leading a charge to avoid suffering as an accusation that the powers that be destroyed, or will destroy, the world. They fear that modern environmentalists and climate justice allies are driven by ideology that seeks to condemn the modern world.
They see the talk of avoiding doom and gloom to mean that there is only alarmism for doom and gloom. In fact, they see Greta’s self-healing through her activism as proof of her being manipulated and controlled by adult handlers.
I think the right sees “alarmism” because it’s just too much for them to consider that there really are fires, floods, heat waves, droughts, famines and refugees that must be addressed with every available tool. One of those tools diverts defense spending from machines, to needs of people.
Another reason is that they have already invested in other scapegoats to blame these things upon: natural cycles, nature (who is a real bitter bitch that must be conquered) selfish and self-absorbed youth culture, feminism and LGBTQ, and of course, immigrants and non-white, non-Christians.
From the point of view of the activists, however, it is blindness to pretend that these are things we should not address. Hope always resides in those who see injustice and believe they can work toward a better world.
How can kids know the world as well as they that built it?
The right seems to be saying that “these kids just don’t know anything. They’re kids.” And, with that same cynicism, they pontificate upon how without oil, industry, and tradition should garner a lot more respect for the world they made for their children.
Curiously, at the same time they accuse the young with wanting to return to a fantasy world of no oil, back yard farms, and some sort of feudal system. They lack the imagination to see that the youth don’t want to turn back the clock. They want to overthrow the system that we have clearly outgrown, and that no longer works.
Youth, and marginalized voices, silenced for far too long advocate for an even more productive, safe, and technologically savvy network of every kind of producers.
About this time, Socialism, or rather fear of it, raises its ugly head.
Socialism and capitalism are forever at odds? Right? No. There are ways to take the best of both worlds. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are a threat to the status quo, specifically because they want to rebalance wealth and representation. They have tapped into an energy.
This energy is just as frightening to the right, as filthy, dirty power influence of the Oil baron age is to the youth.
A greener planet, with cleaner air, water, soil, and especially energy, is the most optimistic thing ever imagined, from the point of view of innovators, scientists, and engineers, to say nothing of artists, entertainers, inspiration makers, and farmers.
It’s not the End of the World–to them
The right seems to believe that caring about extinction implies the End of the World, which it does not. Greta says listen to the science, but they say, “Oh, these kids are saying it’s mass extinction, and we’re all going to die.” Well, opinions vary, but many of us DO realize that we are in a sixth mass extinction, in addition to a polluted, heating and compromised world.
Is this “End of the World” alarmism? Well not if we stop fighting, denying, and piddling around. We can start planting trees as well as taking every conceivable improvement we can create.
If it is alarmism to note bad things are happening and we need every level of society to cooperate, than maybe we do need a bit more panic.
When anyone charges rightwing mouthpieces with bullying, they say, “Oh, we love the Girl. She’s so brave. But she is being used. She is being exploited.”
It is not the Earth, they think that is being exploited, nor is it the most vulnerable among us who brunt the greatest weight of climate change, but they think it is this unfortunate, vulnerable child who is being propped up so her handlers can come and take their power, guns, offices, and oil.
Okay. Well maybe there is a bit for them there to be somewhat concerned about.
Finally, the right is very fond of saying that Greta Thunberg and her cause is inconsequential. They don’t understand why someone who merely held a sign up should inspire anyone. That she does inspire, and that she, Greta, was in turn inspired by the Parkland Shooting Teen Protestors says a lot.
Greta Thunberg got millions more marching where Al Gore and Bill Mckibben, and all the rest, could barely get a few scant million. She gave hope and healing to hundreds of thousands, if not millions more. I know this for a fact because I am not the only one to openly proclaim that my despair has become recharged into hope.
Such healing is the opposite of inconsequential. In fact, it is the only thing that ever got any true progression to happen in this world.
Personally, I think it’s time to charge those who profit most from it
What do we do with all the trash dumped upon
A thoughtful gentleman wrote me in response to an
article I wrote in Age Of Awareness about Extinction Rebellion.
His points were all valid. Greed ruins and torches the world. But then he brought up one of my pet peeves: Junk Mail. Here in Hawaii they just stopped taking all plastic and paper, except cardboard, for recycling. But, advertisers, charities, Universities and more still fill up my mail box faster than a California brush fire eats a once great state.
Here is my note to him, in response to his comments.
Thanks for your thoughts. I agree. It drives
me crazy when I donate, and end up with relentless mail. Because of this, I
make an effort to donate anonymously, if possible.
For Nature Conservancy we set aside an estate
Greed is a real issue. Often, the police and
politics protect the wrong side of history. I agree. Most people however, are
seeing that the polluters, and looters, are the true “extremists” Not those who
simply want clean air, water, food, etc.
my hope is that real people get involved with
real truth. There are signs of it everywhere. Human beings, if we value safety
and equality and justice, will get there in fits and starts.
By the way, the charity I give most to is
giving my time to help rescue, and neuter stray cats. Preventing cats in Hawaii
matters, because they suffer terribly from vermin and parasites here. A kitten,
just spayed, lies on my lap while I write this. advoCATS has no mailing, no
calendars, stickers, labels, etc. just tons of ladies, some of whom are vets,
giving their time to stop a bit of suffering in the world. (and save Hawaii’s
I think the key is to network Locally, and
work with real, real people.
This is my solution, and I constantly seek for more.
What do you do with all that trash?
They are incinerating all that stuff that arrives in your
mailbox unbidden. And that is wrong. Could we sue for pain and suffering?
Unpaid work? Corporate responsibility?
There are people slowly turning to the possibility of suing fossil fuel giants. Amen. They have arguably killed more people, than all wars combined. They have polluted more air and water, destroyed entire ecosystems and prompted the Sixth extinction in which most of us are already desperately missing the sight of wildlife and the songs of birds.
However, the timber industry is still practicing clear cutting and monoculture. They also deserve our attention. They pass on the cost and work of disposing of all that packaging to you and I.
People are very polarized, as you notice each day now. The newest, widening division is about climate.
People are defensive about “man made” climate change because
the implication is that we are all guilty. People can’t face the idea of being
blamed, and in fact, they shouldn’t.
Certainly, some are more guilty than others, but this is
victim blaming. As in the opiate crisis, the many, many dead were judged for
their habits, and often, their “culture”
for far too long. Let’s point the finger instead to the dealers.
It is the dealers of the world who profit most, literally,
from our addiction to fossil fuels. It was recently revealed that the top
twenty polluting corporations of the world not only grow rich on toxic fuel,
they are the origin of fully one third of all greenhouse gases spewing into
your air each and every day.
Not only that, but they actively played crucial roles in the
divide you see today. By undermining the science and blowing the smoke of
confusion over public understanding, they have poisoned the well of human
discourse, all the while that they poison the planet.
All this denial and all this dirty stuff is the real reason
you are afraid to sit down at the table with your Aunt Mary, and racist, Uncle
Bob. If you don’t yet realize that racism, sexism, inequality, disproportionate
wealth, and climate justice are related, then you just have to talk even more openly to those whose opinions you
cannot yet understand.
The IMF is proposing a higher tax on carbon. But this does
nothing to lift up the real victims and give them empowerment. It just seeks to
tax those least responsible who are working people dependent on energy to buy
all that plastic wrapped food.
Let’s not let them do it. It’s really, really important to
our civilization that we unite against the real baddies. And, that’s why you
have to keep love and conversation alive at the Thanksgiving Day Table.