Sunday, December 31, 2017

I Imagined the Spirit of the Lord

moved over the waters, once rainbowed coral reefs bleached white as deer antlers, melting poles, and said to the man and woman,"You are so lost." Judas politicians took "thirty pieces of silver" from oil companies to send us and our children into the abyss if we allow it.
Pūliki used by permission of Sean Yoro with limited edition prints at

Monday, December 25, 2017

For My Christian Friends Who Say to Relax About Climate Change

In the King James Bible, Revelation 11:18 says "and [God] shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth." Is that us?  Our family? Our community? How much carbon are we burning taking out coral reefs, forests, and many species? In a post below, I noted Robinson Meyer in 2016 reported at, "The Average American Melts 645 Square Feet of Arctic Ice Every Year."

Fiona Harvey wrote in The Guardian June 28, 2017, "[Hans Joachim] Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, added: [Earth] may be fatally wounded by negligence [to reduce carbon emissions] [before] 2020.'"

Genesis 2:15 says "And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Being a good steward means reducing carbon emissions.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Back in Portland, Oregon, Working on Carbonfish Blues

Turtles in Portland, Oregon's Legacy Emanuel Children's Garden by unknown artist.
I'm back in Portland, Oregon, for the holidays, and grateful to Fomite Press in Vermont for accepting my next book of climate change poems Carbonfish Blues featuring cover and internal art by English artist Guy Denning, whose Jophiel Watches was on my last cover. Denning's focus on activism, refugees, human vulnerability, and realism make it an honor to work with him.

I'm guessing the book featuring his art and my words will be out in 2018.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Just Fight It (Climate Breakdown)

Tonight the Thompson Fire, the third largest in California history [Dec. 22 Update -- now largest in California history] according to Reuters' reporter Caroline Anderson, continues to spread. Anderson wrote, "It has destroyed more than 1,000 structures and threatened 18,000 more [ . . . . and]  charred [ . . . ] 267,500 acres (108,253 hectares) [. . . ] fewer than 100 miles (160 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles. [ . . . . ] Nearly 8,500 personnel [ . . . .]  970 fire engines and 34 helicopters [ . . . . have the fire] 45 percent contained. [ . . . . ] Bakersfield Fire Department Captain Tim Ortiz described the fire as 'like nothing I’ve ever been involved with before'."  This story is being updated, and so quotes are changing.

When I was a commercial salmon troller / charter captain, my deckhand Tattoo fought large fires and described the work as exhausting.

Now, students fairly ask me "We know you wrote books about climate change, but what else have you done?" I say to them, as I will say to my nephews' and nieces' children, short of violence against against corporate and political climate criminals, I did what I could.

I gave climate change science / poetry readings, and question / answer sessions, at colleges, and other places, in Washington, Oregon, and California; wrote letters and articles for newspapers, wrote "Manifesto from Poet on a Dying Planet,"; held a fundraiser for Houston Food Bank after Hurricane Harvey; marched with other climate activists, served as a member of SanDiego.350's coordinating committee for the Road Through Paris action; edited for SanDiego.350; taught a Climate Change Poetry Seminar with more scheduled; used climate breakdown themes 14 years in English 205 Critical Thinking courses; made a Website to inspire young people; invited a climate writer to Mesa College for a public and YouTube presentation; gave a public showing of Chasing Ice followed by question / answer / discussion session; answered climate questions from other anglers; posted climate videos by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Francis, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the band Coldplay, and Morgan Freeman; participated in, and presented at, a UCSD Faculty Climate Change Curriculum Workshop and Networking Event; called TV news stations on behalf of San Diego area tribes in solidarity with water protectors near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and later called former North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple's office and argued for rights of water protectors; made other phone calls; sent letters; attended other climate marches in Los Angeles and San Diego; held a sign to President Obama as he rode a few feet away on his way to a La Jolla fundraiser; sent climate change books to Governor Jerry Brown; gave radio, newspaper, phone, and email interviews in the U. S. and Australia; read to over 500 climate activists at a December 12, 2016, Rally for Climate Justice in San Diego’s Balboa Park; rescued wild salmon and steelhead smolts trapped in stone pools away from their drought-affected rivers in Oregon and Washington; researched San Diego Mesa College investments then unsuccessfully fought the College to divest from coal and/or oil sands industries as UCSD did along with many other colleges worldwide; deleted emails from people posing as relatives, childhood friends, and colleagues while attempting to crash my four computers; met with other writers and artists working to reduce climate change; in official meetings asked the college where I teach to convert the entire curriculum to climate breakdown preparation for students; and helped honors students publish a book of climate breakdown poems.

Speaking of climate breakdown, Abby Rabinowitz and Amanda Simson a week ago published a Wired article "The Dirty Secret of the World’s Plan to Avert Climate Disaster" in which they noted, "without emissions cuts, global temperatures are projected to rise by 4°C by the end of the century. Many scientists are reluctant to make predictions, but the apocalyptic litany of what a 4°C world could hold includes widespread drought, famine, climate refugees by the millions, civilization-threatening warfare, and a sea level rise that would permanently drown much of New York, Miami, Mumbai, Shanghai, and other coastal cities. [par] But here’s where things get weird. The UN report envisions 116 scenarios in which global temperatures are prevented from rising more than 2°C. In 101 of them, that goal is accomplished by [geoengineering also known as] sucking massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—a concept called 'negative emissions'—chiefly via [ . . . . ] “bioenergy with carbon capture and storage” [also known as . . . . ] BECCS. And in these scenarios to prevent planetary disaster, this would need to happen by midcentury, or even as soon as 2020. Like a pharmaceutical warning label, one footnote warned that such 'methods may carry side effects and long-term consequences on a global scale.'"

Uh-huh. Three days ago I watched a YouTube of Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam University Professor of Physics of the Oceans, speaking at the 2017 Bonn Climate Conference. He said regarding carbon in the atmosphere, "We are now about 400 ppm. This increase is entirely caused by human activity. CO2 levels are now higher than at any time in at least three million years. [ . . . . ] Now, the diagnosis, though, is not very good. [ . . . ] We are filling the atmosphere with CO2 like you would fill a bathtub with water. [ . . . ]  If we wait [ . . .] until 2025 [to significantly reduce carbon] we are basically facing a cliff and we won't make the Paris goals [of 1.5 to 2.0 above pre-industrial levels to save some of Earth's coral reefs]. [Regarding avoiding climate disaster through aforementioned geoengineering, he said] "I'll believe it when I see it."

Given the reality of this situation, my advice is to rest your Twitter, Facebook, and iPhone. Next, ask parents, uncles, aunts, mayors, governors, senators, representatives, priests, pastors, other religious leaders, and elders what they have done to reduce carbon. Join a local group, or some other group such as Olympic Climate Action, working on solutions. You will meet great inspiring people.

Coleman Barks' translation below of "An Empty Garlic" by Rumi notes, "You miss the garden,/[. . . .]  joking with an old crone./[. . . .] Death will open your eyes/to what her face is: Leather spine/of a black lizard." Replace "a black lizard" with "an oil industry" and you get the idea.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Friday, December 1, 2017

I Don't Want to Rock the Boat of Industrial Civilization. I Want to Capsize It


with a focus on sustainability.

Each new car must post
"Square Feet of Arctic Ice Cost Per Year."

The same goes for refrigerators,
air conditioners, heaters,

Each airplane flight,
pound of red meat,
hour of TV
and cell phone.

U. S. leaders,
the only on Earth rejecting
the Paris Climate Conference,
will decide

how we want to appear
before God or conscience
and blue jewel gift
we mostly destroyed.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Beware of Grandma (most creative property sign)

Wading an Oregon coastal river, I saw a property sign "Beware of Grandma." I couldn't stop smiling.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Earth Rent [Paid]? Well, No

Earth Rent, written by my Honors Climate Change Poetry students, is in 
San Diego Mesa College Library.  The class will be offered again Fall 2018.
Most people I meet are unaware of the likelihood of an ice-free Arctic by 2050 for the first time since humans have been on the Earth which has been about 300,000 years. Sir Ken Robinson, at the end of his excellent TED video "Do schools kill creativity?," cites Jonas Salk: "If all the insects were to disappear from the Earth, within 50 years all life on Earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the Earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish." That is because insects are in alignment with ecosystems, and Homo sapiens are not.

People sometimes ask, "We're going to be okay, right?"

I want to reply, as one comedian asked, "Is there air conditioning in your cave?"

All governments, corporations, and colleges must lead the way in carbon reduction, and carbon reduction alternatives for citizens, and most are not doing anything close to what is needed.

The Earth Rent book above has this dedication:

This book is dedicated to survivors and victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, especially those from islands of Barbuda and Puerto Rico, as well as Californians affected by fires, and millions globally enduring floods in Bangladesh [widely reported as 1/3 underwater], Peru, Nepal, India, China, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Canada, Iran, Norway, England, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand,  Vietnam,  Zimbabwe, and other places. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

“If we lose the Arctic, we lose the globe.” -- President Niinistö of Finland in Joint Press Conference with President Trump, August 28, 2017

St. Sebastian
Andrea Mantegna, 1490
Panel, 210 × 91 cm
Ca' d'Oro, Venice
The artist's intentions for the work are explained by a banderol spiralling around an extinguished candle, in the lower right corner. Here, in Latin, it is written: Nihil nisi divinum stabile est. Caetera fumus (‘Nothing is stable if not divine. The rest is smoke’).” -- Wikipedia
Which carbon arrows are we shooting right now into future humans?
Transatlantic flights? Meat-based diet?
Having children? Silence about oil companies?
Silence about U. S. Congress?  Silence about climate refugees?
Silence about 2000-year-old sequoias dying from drought?

Silence about an ice-free Arctic? President Niinistö of Finland said
“If we lose the Arctic, we lose the globe.”  

Last night I watched The Imitation Game about British codebreaker Alan Turing deciphering the Nazi's Enigma machine code.  The code was considered "unbreakable" because of huge obstacles including, as the linked Enigma video notes, "If you had 100,000 people with 100,000 Enigma machines, all testing different settings [ . . .], test a different setting once a second 24 by 7, it would take twice the age of the universe to break the code."  In other words, as multiple sources noted, it would take finding "one of these 15 billion billion settings."

However, Turing's team broke it using a "flaw" that no letter could be itself, and then invented the first computer which operated much faster than human minds. Jack Copeland, professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, wrote in a 2012 article, "If U-boat Enigma had not been broken, and [World War Two] had continued for another two to three years, a further 14 to 21 million people might have been killed. [par break] Of course, even in a counterfactual scenario in which Turing was not able to break U-boat Enigma, the war might still have ended in 1945 because of some other occurrence, also contrary-to-fact, such as the dropping of a nuclear weapon on Berlin."

Very smart people recently told me there is no way humans are going to avoid abrupt climate breakdown.  We need modern Alan Turings to find solutions in the ever-decreasing time allowed.

The beautiful "flaw" (feature, not a bug) is conscience.  The Internet offers speed. Reducing carbon use is the goal. Robinson Meyer wrote in 2016 at, "The Average American Melts 645 Square Feet of Arctic Ice Every Year." An October 25, 2017 Guardian article cited IMF managing director Christine Lagarde: "'we will be toasted, roasted and grilled' if the world fails to take 'critical decisions' on climate change."  Regarding ice loss, here is a good summary.

Lines from The Imitation Game noted "Some people thought we were at war with the Germans— incorrect. We were at war with the clock." and "Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine."

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sabertooth Salmon?

Someone left this monstrosity in one of my favorite salmon holes.  A sabertooth salmon? The article notes, "Imagine a six to seven-foot sockeye salmon jumping up a waterfall or coming to its end in a calm mountain pool." Black bears would have to do a 180 turn and run to escape the jaws. With this beast staring down the salmon, if you catch a fish here you are a great angler indeed! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

North Atlantic / Southwestern United States' Archaeological Records Show Flexibility + Resiliency = Survival

The vast majority of global scientists agree climate breakdown is caused by overuse of fossil fuels which must be quickly reduced to restore natural trends and overall long-term eco-stability. Location-specific climate breakdowns in the North Atlantic (Norse) and southwestern United States (Mimbres,  Mesa Verde, Hohokam) show Flexibility + Resiliency = Survival.  In other words, oil and coal must go.  Solar, wind, and water energy likely identify blue planets where biodiversity survives.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

"Communicating climate change through poetry" (Yale Climate Connections Interview)

Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy (Hawk on Wire book cover and promo video screen capture).
Thanks to Yale Climate Connections for an interview.

Thanks also to Ross Cagenello for a Fomite Author Spotlight interview.

Update: I received notice Hawk on Wire was chosen from over 1,500 books as a 2018 Montaigne Medal Finalist sponsored by Eric Hoffer Awards ("awarded to the most thought-provoking books").  The results of that contest will be announced about May 14, 2018. 

I appreciate great book reviews at Amsterdam Quarterly, and Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics. I received emails that other reviews of my book are on the way.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and Weather in Washington, D. C.

Last night in class someone asked if climate change caused recent hurricanes. Scientists agree the answer is no.  Instead, scientists note, climate change influences hurricane damage in three ways: 1) sea-level rise means higher storm surges are possible; 2) increased moisture produces higher floods; and 3) storm intensity increases from added heat energy.  Looking at data, it's obvious these scientists make sense.  However, in Washington D.C. acceptance of reality of climate breakdown seems to be like this giraffe YouTube with most in the first three stages. Of course, acceptance must be followed by meaningful action.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Thoughts and Prayers for the People of Florida

The Guardian has some of the best coverage of Hurricane Irma updates.  The video on top of their page shows damage in the Caribbean islands.

I'm not sure why my blog is getting thousands of visits from Russia, but thanks.  I appreciate your interest. One of my favorite films is Burnt by the Sun by Russian director and screenwriter Nikita Mikhalkov and Azerbaijani screenwriter Rustam Ibragimbekov.  In the United States, the film received an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1995.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Black Knight and Climate Change

It looks like the planet has had enough of us, or maybe most of us.  Those crying climate scientists are starting to make sense.  As one noted in a radio interview in the above-linked article, "I love the oceans, [ . . . ] I feel passionately about what we are doing to them and I’m worried that they will be irreversibly damaged."  As someone who has spent over 1000 days at sea, many as a commercial/charter/whale watching captain, I can relate.  Look around. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has parts looking like sun-bleached deer antlers.  Harvey in Houston. Irma on the way (185 mph winds at this time). My blog post below.  Montana, British Columbia, Oregon fires. Regarding climate change, world leaders are acting like the stubborn knight in Monty Python's The Holy Grail (first scene) fighting King Arthur (in this case, Earth).

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Houston Food Bank

Some readers may want to know how to help those most affected by Hurricane Harvey.  There are many good organizations.  My choice is the Houston Food Bank because: 1) It was rated high by and 2) It was recommended by which noted "please consider Houston Food Bank [ . . . ] located in the most-affected areas and [ . . .] providing support to individuals and animals."  I understand flood waters are hurting operations there, but their Facebook page noted "When it is safe to travel to our Portwall location, we will need volunteers and donations." The page also noted "The Houston Food Bank has a strong track record of supporting the community during floods, hurricanes and other emergencies, and we want you to know that we are committed to providing food, water and other help to the people who need it most."

I saw CBS News updated today "The storm was generating an amount of rain that would normally be seen only once in more than 1,000 years, said Edmond Russo, a deputy district engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers."  The video at the top of the page has a good overview of the situation.  This once-rare kind of storm, leaving an estimated 30,000 homeless, complements the recent worst storm to hit New Zealand in 500 years,  and 700,000 recently homeless in Peru from floods. It was reported "millions of people are being affected" from floods in Bangladesh where multiple sources note "one third of the country is underwater."

The physics are simple. James Hansen made the links to climate change clear.

Other scientists noted as the oceans warm, the extra energy adds power and moisture to storms. This problem has affected many, and will affect many more.  Another CBS News report noted, "While scientists are quick to say climate change didn't cause Harvey [to form] and that they haven't determined yet whether the storm was made worse by global warming, they do note that warmer air and water mean wetter and possibly more intense hurricanes in the future. [ . . . . ] When Harvey moved toward Texas, water in the Gulf of Mexico was nearly 2 degrees warmer than normal, said Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters. Hurricanes need at least 79 degrees F as fuel, and water at least that warm ran more than 300 feet deep in the Gulf, according to University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy."

This global situation reminds me of a quote by Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), a Protestant pastor who spent seven years in Nazi concentration camps:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

This is not to say Mother Nature is a Nazi.  Instead, it is to say get involved while you can.  I will offer a Hurricane Harvey Benefit Poetry Workshop Sunday, September 3, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at PB Yoga in Pacific Beach, California with all proceeds going to Houston Food Bank.

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 was 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.

On the plus side, Professor Hayhoe has an excellent article, "I was an Exxon-funded climate scientist."

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 to Wallis-Wells' article.

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 2017 "Editor's Pick" (along with 
The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury) at, 
and was selected from over 1,500 books as a 2018 
Montaigne Medal Finalist sponsored by Eric Hoffer Awards
for "the most thought-provoking books." It is 
available at or BN.comThe 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 for distributing 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'm grateful to Dr. Michael Potts, University of South Australia, for his review of my book, and Vivian Hansen, University of Calgary, for her review

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, Split Rock Review in Minnesota, and POETRY MAGAZINE's Reading List: July/August 2017 (Part II) for promoting the book (from Craig Santos Perez).

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 Oregon Knight Library, Washington State University (Vancouver Campus Library), University of Arizona Libraries, University at Buffalo Libraries in New York, Los Angeles Public Library, University of Wisconsin - Madison General Library, Portland State University Branford P. Millar Library, Linfield College Library, Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst, Eastern Washington University JFK Library, University of Indianapolis Krannert Memorial 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 . . ."

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,
say what’s great about this gym is
one honest push-up means you eat
five cupcakes guilt free!
An honest sit-up equals 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.