Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Venus II or Eden II?

Venus II or Eden II"What can we do about climate change?" someone asked me again yesterday. Start here.

The Atlantic posted a July 10, 2017 rebuttal to Wallis-Wells' article above I linked as "Venus II."  The U. S. Geological Survey and the University of Rochester noted in a recent study the Arctic-methane issue may not be as dire as some scientists imagined. However, what I like about Wallis-Wells' article is how it rightly notes difficulty in implementing catastrophe-avoiding social change planet-wide on the ever-shorter time scale required. It's like a huge boat trying to avoid hitting smaller boats in the fog (in this case "smaller boats" are island nations and low-lying areas). Regarding the contrast between scientists' and publics' perceptions, Wallis-Wells noted "the most credentialed and tenured in the field, few of them inclined to alarmism and many advisers to the IPCC who nevertheless criticize its conservatism — have quietly reached an apocalyptic conclusion, too: No plausible program of emissions reductions alone can prevent climate disaster."  Wallis-Wells' article continues, "Most people talk as if Miami and Bangladesh still have a chance of surviving; most of the scientists I spoke with assume we’ll lose them within the century, even if we stop burning fossil fuel in the next decade." The Atlantic didn't respond to this important argument. Additionally, I was amused by The Atlantic's rebuttal "Carbon-dioxide levels only get high enough to seriously depress brain function in indoor spaces, though he implies it will become a global problem."  With already locked-in temperature increases, are we all supposed to forever work outdoors?  
The Atlantic piece cites Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist and professor of political science at Texas Tech University. “The NYMag article is the climate equivalent of being told that everyone in the world’s life will end in the most grisly, worst-case possible scenario if we keep on smoking.” My response is to read it again. Wallis-Wells' article noted, "In between scientific reticence and science fiction is science itself. This article is the result of dozens of interviews and exchanges with climatologists and researchers in related fields and reflects hundreds of scientific papers on the subject of climate change. What follows is not a series of predictions of what will happen — that will be determined in large part by the much-less-certain science of human response. Instead, it is a portrait of our best understanding of where the planet is heading absent aggressive action. It is unlikely that all of these warming scenarios will be fully realized, largely because the devastation along the way will shake our complacency. But those scenarios, and not the present climate, are the baseline. In fact, they are our schedule." In short, instead of Wallis-Wells' article being like "the most grisly, worst-case possible scenario if we keep on smoking," it is more like a detailed account of a smoker on life support with the legal right to ask for and receive more cigarettes on his deathbed.

I may be a simple Oregon fisherman but I think The Atlantic has some explaining to do. 

Susan Matthews, Slate's science editor, has one of the most honest responses.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Rumi's Poem "An Empty Garlic" from about 740 Years Ago is like Our Outdated Carbon Addiction

An Empty Garlic

You miss the garden,
because you want a small fig from a random tree.
You don't meet the beautiful woman.
You're joking with an old crone.
It makes me want to cry how she detains you,
stinking mouthed, with a hundred talons,
putting her head over the roof edge to call down,
tasteless fig, fold over fold, empty
as dry-rotten garlic.

She has you tight by the belt,
even though there's no flower and no milk
inside her body.
Death will open your eyes
to what her face is: Leather spine
of a black lizard. No more advice.

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the stronger pull of what you really love.

(Used with permission of translator Coleman Barks, author of The Essential Rumi, p. 50)  Another great Rumi poem is "The Snake-Catcher’s Tale."

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hawk on Wire: Ecopoems Book Launch at Vanguard Culture May 2, 2017

This is part of my May 2 book launch reading sponsored by La Jolla Historical Society's project WEATHER ON STEROIDS: THE ART OF CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE.  About 50 people attended. Many stayed after to ask questions and share concerns and ideas about climate change. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hawk on Wire Published by Fomite Press in Vermont

This book was a July 12, 2017 "Editor's Pick" (along with The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury) at, and is available at Fomite Press or The Kindle price is $4.99.

Climate change science and prophecy explored in poetry are themes in my new book. Many thanks to The Yale Center for Environmental Communication's Climate Connections that in a few months will distribute an interview about my book throughout the U.S. via a syndicate of more than 340 radio stations and online via podcast and internet radio.  

I also appreciate cover art from English artist Guy Denning, and endorsements from John Shoptaw, John Keeble, Daniela GioseffiAnne ElveySimmons B. Buntin
Gail EntrekinMichael Spring, Thomas Rain CroweTeresa Mei Chuc, Senior Research Scientist at IPAC Caltech Yun Wang, Prartho SerenoEric Magrane, and Daniel Hudon

Thanks to ASLEThe Oregonian, San Diego Reader, Amsterdam Quarterly, and Split Rock Review in Minnesota for promoting the book.  

New York University and City College of San Diego sent notices they will be using my book in their Nature Writing classes. Maybe a generous donor will send my book to all professors/teachers receiving the bogus mailing from The Heartland Institute (Why Scientists Disagree about Global Warming) so students can explore head/heart poetry informed by real science and real scientists. 

The following libraries added my book or gave notice they will add it: UC San Diego Library, University of Arizona Libraries, University at Buffalo Libraries in New York, Portland State University Branford P. Millar Library, Eastern Washington University JFK Library, Library of Congress, Sno-Isle Regional Library System, and Newport Public Library (Oregon). If you like my book, please ask your local library to order it.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Oregon Springers

Car top egg cure.
My first three nights back in Oregon I sat on a river rock under the stars all night to clear my head.

One morning, at a restaurant near the river, a waitress asked me, "Where's your wife?"

"She's working so I can fish."

"You're an Asshole," said the waitress.

The best fishermen I knew were all good men, but not too good if you know what I mean.

With low returns, fishing is tough.  I caught these 17 and 16 pound spring chinook alone in a remote canyon.  How remote? There was a Bigfoot photo like a lost dog flier at the campsite.  "Lost. If found call . . ."

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Leatherman Dentures Idea

June Salmon Caught Just Before Dark
Suz is angry again.  Upon request, I gave her my extra toothbrush, and she said, "Wait a second. Isn't this blue one the one you use to clean fishing reels?"

"Yes, but [ . . . ]," and she was out the door.

I guess there are things some people will never understand.

Another example is the dental blade I had put in so I can cut line in case I forget my nail clippers.  Suz said, "I bet when you're old and lose all your teeth, you'll get Leatherman Dentures."  Great idea!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

You Have That Right (German Magazine Der Spiegel)

 © 46/2016 DER SPIEGEL:

The translation is also the title of a 1987 R.E.M. song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” from their album Document.  A Zen master may reject the not-enough Paris Climate Agreement to galvanize support for stronger action, then later say "Just Joking," and push for higher carbon reductions, but President Trump has shown he is no Zen master. Wikipedia notes DER SPIEGEL "is one of Europe's largest [weekly news magazines], with a [ . . . ] circulation of 840,000."

Monday, May 29, 2017

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's 5 Minute Apr. 26, 2017 Video "Politics of Climate Change [Citizens United]"

Used with permission of Future historians, if there are any, will trace the beginning of the end to Citizens United, a slap in the face of all those we remember this Memorial Day including my grandfather who fought as a U. S. Marine in WWI in the trenches of France. The question remains: Will this country belong to families of those who fought and died for it, or oil companies

Monday, May 15, 2017

Uh-Oh, "Columbia spring run prediction sliced in half" according to

Broken Ritual
One year salmon didn’t return to the river
and men said maybe they got lost
even though in millennia
it had never happened
to an entire run.

Wind rapped the old wood door
saying to anyone listening
"They didn’t get lost.  You did."
(from my book Hawk on Wire)

Today, Bill Monroe at reported "Instead of 160,400 fish to the river's mouth this spring, biologists now predict the run will be closer to 83,000 at the river's mouth. That translates to a much lower 75,000 at Bonneville Dam." (June 21 Update Count: 121, 058 chinook have passed over the dam this spring / summer, and Bonneville noted a "spring chinook" total of 83, 624.)

This is bad news for a guy that grades papers eight months a year so he can salmon fish every day in June. It's worse news for tribes and others depending on salmon for physical and cultural survival. Northern California Yurok Tribe Member Thomas Wilson said in an OPB article about his tribe's lowest-ever allocation of 650 fish, "That’s not enough for us to live. The Yurok people are fishing people. It’s our identity. Without fish we are nothing. We cease to exist."

While some salmon runs appear to be okay, poor ocean conditions, due to warming, meant many salmon runs in the North Pacific crashed in Alaska, Canada, Washington, Oregon, and California. Oregonlive reported poor runs in 1994, and from 1995 to 1999. Regarding the 1994 crash, The National Marine Fisheries Service noted "The natural disasters triggering this resource disaster include an extended period of drought, floods, and warm ocean conditions." Sound familiar?

A writer friend said something like, "So maybe half of Earth's species will go extinct this century due to habitat loss, climate change, and other matters. There will be new conditions to adapt to. Everything changes. Get over it." This is like asking wild apes, bears, and tigers to adapt to zoos. Many don't. They go insane.

Martin Luther King Jr. taught "The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him." I've been telling myself and others this. That being said, it's vital to recognize the cause of increased climate change, and therefore, the personal action needed.

I read a recent email noting the worst California drought in 1,200 years is over. This was supposed to make people feel better.  The problem is climate change means extreme weather, as in droughts and floods. Get it?  Do what you want, but act from an informed place.  For my Republican friends, here is why Ted Cruz is flat wrong about alleged significance of his satellite data.  The book from The Heartland Institute that your children's science teachers and professors recently received, Why Scientists Disagree about Global Warming, has been thoroughly debunked.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

"Run Like Hell" -- Pink Floyd

How it Goes

My wife complains our raft is leaking
and she has ice water up her butt.

“Small price to hook a steelhead,” I say.
Next, my felt hat floats by

then our cooler, and I turn to see
my old Fenwick broke and stuck in sand

like antennas of old TVs
or giant underground bugs.

“Our wedding vows were for ‘Better
or worse, for summer and winter

steelhead, spring and fall chinook,
and the trouts’”  I offer

but red in her blue eyes says I’d better run.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Power of the Red Vest

• TOLES © 2017 The Washington Post. Reprinted with permission of ANDREWS MCMEEL
SYNDICATION. All rights reserved.
I was a marshal at the People's Climate March on April 29 in San Diego which had about 5,000 activists join with 200,000 in Washington, D. C.  A man, looking at my vest, asked what it took to be a marshal. "Intense martial arts training for two years," I joked. I enjoyed how people listened to me so much I plan to wear my red vest teaching "Fix that comma!" and husbanding "We're not doing yard work today. We're going fishing!"  Of course, I'll have to remove my red to not scare the fish.

Reflecting on how we arrived at this climate change point, I thought of the best documentary I had seen in years which has parts many of us have known are true, but never heard voiced: What A Way To Go: Life at the End of Empire (2007) (subtitled). "A Message from the Film Makers (2011): We’ve decided to release the movie for free Internet viewing with the intention of being of service. [ . . . . ] If you value what you see here, please show your appreciation by purchasing a DVD [ . . . ] or making a donation."

Dream of Climate Change Gym

Expert trainers, all in designer leotards,
tell me what’s great about this gym is
one honest push-up means you can eat
five cupcakes guilt free!
An honest sit-up equals the pie of your choice
(except marble fudge requiring two sit-ups).

Everyone smiles as they get fatter and primed
for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, constipation
as the AMA and General Mills rake dollars.
“There is magic,” the manager boasts,
“telling people exactly what they want to hear.”
which I guess is right if “magic” means

recruiting, but wrong too the way climate change
is a Chinese hoax or alternate facts
will pay our Earth-rent.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

"No size restrictions and screw the limit." -- Far Side Cartoon

One of my favorite Far Side cartoons has two guys in a small boat, three nuclear mushroom clouds in the background, and the text "no size restrictions and screw the limit." I would include the cartoon here, but Larson wrote "please refrain from putting The Far Side out on the Internet" so I will honor that unless he grants permission.

I thought of that cartoon today when I watched the excellent Noam Chomsky YouTube video Racing To The Precipice: Prof Noam Chomsky (March 2017) which has 7,156 views in the past 4 days and will likely get thousands more based on warnings about climate change and nuclear threats [April 26, 2017 Update: 103,638 views]. Chomsky cites the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock at "two and a half minutes to midnight" as an indicator of the situation.  Chomsky isn't victim to what I call "The Four Horsemen" of distraction in my poems: "stakeholders, funding sources, constituencies, and agendas."  Instead, Chomsky has long combined glittering intelligence with brutal honesty.  He reads widely and currently, and is a refreshing contrast from popular media.

Speaking of popular media, I called KPBS / NPR yesterday to say while I appreciated some of their news, why haven't they reported on the 700,000 recently homeless in Peru as a result of floods?  I said it seems like they are trying to keep the reality of climate change from the public.  The KPBS Newsroom man who answered said he didn't know what I was talking about.  "Where did you see that?" he asked. "The Los Angeles Times," I said, "in a March 28 story called 'Peru's brutal season of floods [ . . . ].'" The man said he would look into it, and notify NPR's national office.  I thought I would hear it today, but instead, when I turned on the radio I heard that Don Rickles, whom died today, "was Mr. Potato Head's voice in the film Toy Story."  I enjoyed Rickles but it seems 700,000 homeless in Peru from "torrential rains and massive flooding for much of this year" is a bigger story.

Similarly, since this is a fishing blog, I will add other concerns.  I left Whidbey Island, in large part, because recreational salmon fishing in the area was closed for the first time in 30 years.  In recent years, California, Oregon, and Washington, all trucked salmon to or from the sea since rivers were unusable by salmon as a result of drought.  In the Missoula News/Independent I read a March 30, 2017 article "Hooking fly fishers on climate change" which reminded me of a letter I wrote in The Columbian in Washington last year for salmon anglers "We must become climate activists."  Today The Guardian reported, "New Zealand towns hit by 'once in 500-year flood' as storm system sweeps in" "as the tail-end of ex-cyclone Debbie sweeps east after devastating large parts of Australia." In the play Hamlet Marcellus said "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" but after much hardship and death, order is restored at the end.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

In the Fewest Possible Words . . . .

Dear Readers,

Here is my article about the Valve Turners risking "prison sentences up to 51 years for coordinated actions which, according to former lawyer / current Valve Turner Annette Klapstein, 'shut down all the major tar sands pipelines coming into the US across four states, in solidarity with [ . . .] brothers and sisters at Standing Rock who are struggling to stop the DAPL Pipeline and to call attention to the catastrophic climate emergency which the fossil fuel companies and their accomplices have created.'" 

Best wishes for many fishes,


Friday, February 3, 2017

Oregon naturalist/writer Tim Fox will speak at Mesa College Friday, Feb. 24

Click here for YouTube presentation.
I invited Oregon naturalist/writer Tim Fox to speak at Mesa College Friday, Feb. 24, at 6:30 p.m. I met him at Blue River Writers gathering sponsored by the Spring Creek Project at Oregon State University and was impressed by his calm soul, clear thinking, and good ideas. I also liked his warning about the danger of "resign[ing] ourselves to the probable instead of the possible." Check out his blog

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Why I Support Standing Rock Sioux's Nonviolent Protest Against Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access Pipeline

The past two terms, students asked why I support Standing Rock Sioux's nonviolent protest against Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access Pipeline.  In the fewest possible words, these two RISE videos explain why: Part 1 and Part 2.  I am grateful reported 4,000 veterans, and many others, from as far away as Norway, are supporting this effort.

One of my favorite thinkers, Isaac Asimov, said, "[Y]ou do your best to disprove your own findings." which is what I did before I began support.  In other words, I read Energy Transfer Partners' claims and positions, and compared them with those of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their supporters. However, I didn't stop there.  I called former North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple's office and had a conversation with his secretary.

"Oh, do you mean the protesters?" she asked.

"Some people call them that," I said, "but I, and others, call them 'Water Protectors.'"

I know some of my friends may take the other side, and I can only encourage them to watch the two RISE videos above then look closely at both sides of the argument.  Regardless of one's position, there is no way to explain-away major bank-financed dogs biting nonviolent people protecting their tribal burial sites and water for all future generations.  Everyone saw false assurances of oil companies blasted away with the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill,  Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, and on Dec. 12, 2016, The Guardian reported "Electronic monitoring equipment failed to detect a pipeline rupture that spewed more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil into a North Dakota creek, according to the pipeline’s operator, about 150 miles from the site of the Standing Rock protests."

I noticed activists and creatives insisting our nonviolent actions can be as important, or more important, than our writing.  I couldn't agree more.  Yesterday, The Seattle Times reported about Ken Ward "No conviction for activist who shut down TransMountain pipeline." While I would never support this kind of activity without nonviolence training, proper planning, and deep reflection of possible risks, I, like the jury, understand why honest-hearted people nonviolently risk 20 or more years in prison to do these kinds of acts.  Ken Ward and the other four "Valve Turners" will be presenting at San Diego First Church of the Brethren, 3850 Westgate Pl, on Monday, February 13 at 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM PST.  The event notice "Suggested donation $20. No one turned away for lack of funds."

Sunday, January 15, 2017

What Happens When You Tell Your Wife She Can't Go Fishing

What happens when you tell your wife she can't go fishing
Released a dark buck then caught this bright one
Winter Satori

Raced to lace boots, run and photograph frost moon over alders, but it was gone.

Some things are meant to enjoy now, not later.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Case of the Flying Steelhead

Suz's flying steelhead
Items found in the river
Two more found in the river
Another day

Suz set the hook so hard I had to get a ladder to find her steelhead on the roof (top photo). A brief thaw allowed more river time.  There are no substitutes for passion and time on the water.