Tuesday, January 30, 2018

WTF (What the Fish?)

In case you missed it, here is what President Trump said Jan. 28, 2018, in an interview with Piers Morgan:
“There is a cooling and there's a heating—I mean, look, it used to not be climate change. It used to be global warming. That wasn't working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place. The ice caps were going to melt. They were going to be gone by now, but now they're setting records, okay? They're at a record level.”

The President is wrong. The overall globe has been heating, and ice caps have been shrinking.  This ridiculous situation reminds me of the Norwegian Blue Parrot Scene from Monty Python "To celebrate The British Comedy Award nomination for 'Best Comedy Moment of 2014.'"  I think historians will recall this moment too.  To clarify on a more serious note, according to NASA "Sixteen of the 17 warmest years in the 136-year record all have occurred since 2001, with the exception of 1998. The year 2016 ranks as the warmest on record." and "Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum each September. September Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 13.2 percent per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average." NASA also noted, according to businessinsider.com, "2017 was the second warmest year on record since 1880."

I have many republican friends and relatives, and I wish some of you would tell the President you care about climate breakdown and, for the sake of your children, and theirs, want global carbon emissions reduced.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

"Rivers and Stories" by Robert Hass, and global oneness project

Today I read the excellent essay "Rivers and Stories" by Robert Hass.

It was in my morning email from the global oneness project I subscribed to a few years ago. It came with the usual lesson plan for professors and teachers who care about human and nonhuman communities on spaceship Earth.  The global oneness project is a gem in the mines of the Internet.  The Lesson Plan of the Week - January 26, 2018, quoted Hass: “I tell my students—and this is a time when they come in very worried with a sense of ecological catastrophe, which an earlier generation of students didn’t have—I tell them that part of their job is to have more fun. They’ve got to get out and enjoy themselves in the world. The first part of that job of reclaiming is to walk in the world. Look at this creature life. Watch the sunrise, watch the sun go down. Look at the stars and smell wet earth after rain and stand by a river. Stand by a living river and then go stand by the Huangpu or some other river, and you have to notice that there are no birds there to understand what’s happened, and that takes some experience.”

There are too many great lessons from global oneness project to list here. Here are some my students enjoyed: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking on the reality of being "interdependent [, . . . . ] interrelated"; Earthrise film trailer and historyInto the Middle of Nowhere film and lessonWelcome to Canada (about "a young Syrian refugee granted asylum in Canada in 2014, who is now counseling newly arrived refugees"); Wright's Law (a high school physics teacher talks about empathy and love); On the Verge of Displacement [in Ethiopia] which cites recently passed elder Ursula K. Le Guin: "Through story, every culture defines itself and teaches its children how to be people and members of their people—Hmong, !Kung, Hopi, Quechua, French, Californian…” [ . . . ] “What a child needs, what we all need, is to find some other people who have imagined life along lines that make sense to us and allow some freedom[ . . . .]; and "Lesson Plan Witnessing Icebergs".

Another good one is My Enemy, My Brother which I used with the prompt "Write about a surprise ending."

The global oneness project reminds me of a quote by Albert Camus: "The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself." and another by Chief Arvol Looking Horse: "Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger? Know that you yourself are essential to this world. Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this world. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending."  For those just getting started, or helping students understand, watch this seven and a half minute PBS NewsHour video Why 2 degrees Celsius is climate change’s magic number.

Thanks to many visitors this week from Ukraine, Canada, Russia, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Climate Activists Need Balance

For balance, I enjoy time with my wife, dog, rivers, world literature classes, and creative writing classes. Meditation, prayer, yoga, and Pacific Northwest hikes also help. Thanks to many recent visitors from Ukraine, Russia, South Korea, France, and Germany.
Hidden River Two Days Ago

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Good Time to Pray

Today I saw James Temple's  December 6, 2017 article "Global Warming’s Worst-Case Projections Look Increasingly Likely" in MIT Technology Review citing a paper in Nature that claimed "under the the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s [IPCC's] steepest  prediction for greenhouse-gas concentrations [ . . . . ] the odds that temperatures will increase more than 4 [°C over pre-industrial level . . . ] by 2100 in this so-called 'business as usual' scenario increased from 62 percent to 93 percent." For context, consider the newly complied data means a prediction "15 percent hotter than the previous estimate" following a pattern of the situation being much worse than thought.

Consider what an increase of 4 °C over pre-industrial level means. In a December 31, 2013, article in The Guardian by Damian Carrington, Professor Steven Sherwood, at the University of New South Wales, in Australia, said "4C would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous [ . . . ] For example, it would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much of the tropics, and would guarantee the eventual melting of the Greenland ice sheet and some of the Antarctic ice sheet."

If Greenland melts, it has been widely reported seas will rise "6 meters (20 feet),"  and if the Antarctic Ice Sheet melts, "60 meters (200 feet)."

Below I wrote we need a modern Alan Turing (invented computer) with enough vision to matter. However, the more one looks into the scale and trends, the more obvious it is that social engineering is needed as much as technological geoengineering, especially since, as was noted below by Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam University Professor of Physics of the Oceans, speaking at the 2017 Bonn Climate Conference, geoengineering is unlikely to work. Many people cringe when they hear the term "social engineering" so how about "global social awakening"?

Robert Bly's book The Light Around the Body quotes Jacob Boehme (1575-1624): "For according to the outward man, we are in this world, and according to the inward man, we are in the inward world…. Since then we are generated out of both worlds, we speak in two languages, and we must be understood also by two languages." and

"Dear children, look in what a dungeon we are lying, in
what lodging we are, for we have been captured by the spirit
of the outward world; it is our life, for it nourishes and
brings us up, it rules in our marrow and bones, in our flesh
and blood, it has made our flesh earthly, and now death has us."

It is possible the IPCC is wrong, but probably not.

If you are a prayerful person, now would be good.  I recall in Leonardo Dicaprio's Before the Flood, he met with my favorite Pope, Francis. Dicaprio noted "He said that as far as the Paris Conference is concerned, he felt was a step in the right direction, but certainly not enough. He feels we all need to keep speaking out about this issue as loud as we can, and that we must immediately take action. But more than anything, he said to pray for the human race."

If space aliens are watching, children of the same God, I hope they don't follow a Star Trek-like "Prime Directive" or "Temporal Prime Directive."

If they are following those, or aren't watching, it's up to you, me, and anyone willing to help.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

[2017 was] "The Year Climate Change Began to Spin Out of Control" (MIT Technology Review) / ArtCenter SOUTH FLORIDA Residency

[2017 was] "The Year Climate Change Began to Spin Out of Control" (MIT Technology Review)

ArtCenter SOUTH FLORIDA is offering a one-year Miami residency with free housing, a $25,000 stipend, and "$7,500 in production funds" from April 1, 2018 – April 1, 2019 to help develop a 500 million dollar climate change "resiliency plan that incorporates the voices of residents and experts [that] will prepare the city to survive, adapt and grow as it faces a warming climate [ . . .]." Issues include "coastal flooding to affordable housing and public transit."  The residency is "based on the premise that art can drive social and political innovation." ArtCenter SOUTH FLORIDA is seeking "candidates who can connect their artistic practice to other fields of knowledge, like architecture, science, public policy and urban planning, in order to create new models for public action."  The deadline is January 22, 2018, 11:59PM  with notification on February 14, 2018.   The announcement noted "results of the residency could have far-reaching impacts, as the work will be shared with other cities around the world facing similar challenges." See the art/ecology/activist coral bleaching video below: