Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hope in the Blast Zone

I just returned from Blue River Writers Gathering sponsored by the Spring Creek Project at Oregon State University. The Gathering was at H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest near McKenzie Bridge, Oregon. I was glad to attend workshops by Oregon Poet Laureate Kim Stafford, Jourdan Keith, Kathleen Dean Moore, and spawning spring chinook. A major theme was hope, or lack of hope, or how to work without any hope of carbon / methane reductions to stop near-term immense planetary suffering for all species. I was grateful Nancy Cook of Astoria tried to put together a raft trip for the two of us down the McKenzie River.  Maybe that will happen at the next Gathering two years from now. The film Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin by Arwen Curry was memorable.

Afterwards, my wife and I drove into Mt. St. Helens blast zone so we could hike, enjoy fall colors, and write poems.  I recalled Tim Fox speaking about Jerry Franklin "who was one of the first scientists to enter the Mt. St. Helens blast zone following the 1980 eruption. He and his colleagues had anticipated a barren wasteland, they predicted, would last for centuries. Instead, he was greeted by a fireweed sprout poking up green through the gray ash. His response was to cry out in delight 'We were wrong!'"  Similarly, it would be great for The Guardian to be wrong about a possible "150 million 'climate refugees' by 2050."

At the Gathering, Jerry Martien's insight stayed with me about the movement to spirit taking place in the climate activist community, along with Tim Fox's words about gratitude for even life's hardest challenges, and Tom Titus' essay about landing a huge fall chinook that broke his line, but he caught anyway.  It was good to meet artist Ian Boyden, and learn about his work in China. I enjoyed hearing about Mary DeMocker's new book The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution. Two years ago, at the previous Gathering, she asked me to write a poem titled "How We Stopped Corporate Psychopaths from Cooking Planet Earth."

I was encouraged by other insights, writings, readings, nature walks, and activist works of believers and atheist-humanists.  Below is a poem I wrote for a student while hiking in St. Helens blast zone.

For a Student Fighting Depression

Each day I don't kill myself
is an adventure like today's September green
in St. Helen's blast zone

or fall chinook fishing
under a flame of maples that heals
instead of burns.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

"Shell and Exxon's secret 1980s climate change warnings," and The Yes Men

Today at The Guardian Benjamin Franta wrote in an article "Shell and Exxon's secret 1980s climate change warnings," "Looking on the bright side, [Shell] expressed its confidence that 'this problem is not as significant to mankind as a nuclear holocaust or world famine.' [par break]  The documents make for frightening reading. And the effect is all the more chilling in view of the oil giants’ refusal to warn the public about the damage that their own researchers predicted. Shell’s report, marked 'confidential,' was first disclosed by a Dutch news organization earlier this year. Exxon’s study was not intended for external distribution, either; it was leaked in 2015. [par break] Nor did the companies ever take responsibility for their products. In Shell’s study, the firm argued that the 'main burden' of addressing climate change rests not with the energy industry, but with governments and consumers. That argument might have made sense if oil executives, including those from Exxon and Shell, had not later lied about climate change and actively prevented governments from enacting clean-energy policies."

I enjoyed The Yes Men's parody of Shell below, as well as their entire film. Some may think comedy is inappropriate given the serious nature of abrupt climate change.  I am reminded of Thomas Merton's words in "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander" republished in the last issue of The Analog Sea Review, AN OFFLINE JOURNAL I mentioned below."

Monday, September 17, 2018

"Make joy no matter what."

I took a break from climate posts so my nephew Kaige and I could fish off Mexico. In two trips we caught bluefin, yellowfin, and yellowtail. I recalled my poem about Bukowski, "make joy / no matter what." However, when eating tuna, follow "U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) test results for mercury and fish, and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) determination of safe mercury levels."

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ocean Heat, CO2, Super Typhoon Mangkhut, Hurricane Florence, and North Carolina / Florida Climate Politics

"Ocean heat content (OHC) and CO2 concentration measurements since 1950s. The black line represents ocean heating for the upper 2000 meters of ocean, and light red shading represents the 95 percent confidence interval. CO2 concentration observed in Mauna Loa Observatory is displayed by light blue." Thanks to Lijing Cheng of the INSTITUTE OF ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS, CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, for use of this graphic and caption. 
Click for 9/14/18 update by James Griffiths at cnn.com: "Super Typhoon Mangkhut slams into the Philippines, strongest storm this year" with "maximum sustained winds of 270 kilometers per hour (165 mph), with gusts as high as 325 kilometers per hour (200 mph), the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane [. . . . putting] millions [ . . .] at risk from rising flood waters and landslides." Here is a video from Straits Times.

Click for 9/14/18 update from Matt Fidler at The Guardian: "East coast battered by Hurricane Florence – in pictures." 

Click for 9:50 PM ET 9/11/18 update from Holly Yan at can.com: "These 4 reasons make Hurricane Florence extremely dangerous."

The above graphic shows rise in "ocean heat content" from 1950s to present follows rise in CO2. Most scientists agree warmer oceans produce stronger hurricanes like Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate ("so destructive," according to Angela Fritz of The Washington Post, "their names have been retired."), and Florence now moving toward North Carolina. To clarify, I wrote on this blog September 21, 2017, "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."

Hurricane Florence, according to Emery P. Dalesio at abcnews.go.com, "could hit with punch not seen in more than 60 years." It is widely reported to be about the size of North Carolina when it hits Friday morning with winds expected somewhere between 120mph and 140 mph along with storm surges, heavy rains, and flooding.

Various news media reported a million people received mandatory evacuation orders near coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Bill McKibben twittered today "It's rude to say it at the moment, I guess, but perhaps worth remembering that the North Carolina legislature literally banned using the latest science on sea level rise for coastal planning."

This reminds me of how Florida Governor Rick Scott "nickeled, dimed, slashed and ignored Florida’s environmental protections for almost eight years" then claimed, according to Froma Harrop of The Seattle Times, no responsibility for Florida's extreme red tide this year or "Fertilizer pollution from sugar farms, citrus groves, and ranches [which] feeds the ['freshwater blue-green slime'] algae" even though "When there is conflict over this, Scott habitually sides with the biggest polluters."

Similarly, regarding Florida Governor Rick Scott, the headline of a Washington Post article by Terrence McCoy on March 10, 2015, was "Fla. scientist told to remove words ‘climate change’ from study on climate change." I like what poet William Stafford wrote in 1982 in his poem “Reading the Big Weather,” “'Republicans / Control Congress'—the year spins on unheeding. / [ . . . . ] This earth we are riding keeps trying to tell us / something with its continuous scripture of leaves." UC Berkeley poet John Shoptaw wrote "ecopoetry, whatever else it is, must include ecoprophecy," and Stafford's poem seems to fit.

As I noted in a post March 24, 2018, "the climate effects now are from emissions about 10 to 30 years ago, and we have poured in much more carbon since then. We can expect conditions to get worse until long after this problem is solved." Thoughts, prayers, and nonviolent climate action for people of the Philippines, North Carolina, nearby areas, and everywhere.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Rising for Orca & Climate Justice, and Save the Salish Sea Event on Sept. 15, 2018

In a related matter, click this article from The Spokesman-Review by Eli Francovich noting "'The orcas are going to die if we don’t breach the [Snake River] dams,' said Chiara Rose, a student at Western Washington University in Bellingham. 'They are very dependent on this specific ecosystem [supplying Snake River salmon orcas need.]'” The article also quoted "staunch conservative and former marine" Bill Chetwood who "remembers watching salmon streaming below his boat. He remembers a riparian area that cut through the dry and high desert hills winding all the way to the Columbia River. [par break] Chetwood, 88, is a lifelong resident of the Lewiston area. He is one of the few who can recall the Snake River before four dams slowed the river’s water.[par break] He wants all that back."

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sept. 8, 2018, Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice in Portland, Oregon, and THE RELUCTANT RADICAL Film Sept. 12, 7 p.m. in Whitsell Auditorium, Portland Art Museum

Yesterday I attended 350PDX's Climate, Jobs and Justice event at Glenhaven City Park in Portland, Oregon.  Highlights included an opening prayer by Celilo Falls-born Ed Edmo, a poem from Marshall Islander Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner (video below), presentations by Oregon Just Transition Alliance (OJTA), and others. In addition, check out Portland Clean Energy Fund.

The event, according to riseforclimate.org, was part of the September 8 action "on 7 continents, in 95 countries, with 900+ actions, [where] people worldwide demanded real climate action from their local leaders."

I was glad to meet Lindsey Grayzel, whose film about Ken Ward, THE RELUCTANT RADICAL (trailer below), will be shown Wed., Sept. 12, 7 p.m. in Whitsell Auditorium, Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave., in Portland, Oregon. More about the film is here.  I wrote about Ken Ward, and his fellow Valve Turners, at San Diego Free Press in an article linked at San Diego 350, and The Spring Creek Project Blog at Oregon State University.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Mass Hypnosis of United States' Policy Regarding Climate Change

The Atlantic and other publications noted in 2017 the United States is the only country on Earth opposing the Paris Climate Agreement. The Atlantic reported "195 other countries have already signed on." As I wrote below, the Climate Agreement didn't go far enough, and was only a start.

Many colleagues, friends, neighbors, and students don't want to talk about it.  These two videos are for them.  As I heard a Canadian say to his friend in a bad relationship, "Look around!" People, colleges, businesses, corporations, especially politicians, in the U.S. are caught in a mass hypnosis of denial. Watch these to see what I mean:

Thanks to visitors this week from United States, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Unknown Region (?), Germany, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, Australia, and Canada.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Jeff Goodell at Rolling Stone: "The Melting Arctic Is a Real-Time Horror Story — Why Doesn’t Anyone Care?"

Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone contributing editor and author of The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World, has an excellent article about specific challenges with Arctic melt you won't hear in many mainstream news sources.  Goodell's August 29, 2018 article notes: "The thawing of the Arctic is one of the biggest stories of our time, even if it is playing out at a pace and in a way that virtually guarantees most people will pay little or no attention to it [ . . . . ] To oversimplify this only slightly, you could argue that this summer’s historic wildfires in California were predicted by heat in the Arctic [ . . . ] Last winter, temperatures in the Arctic were 45 degrees Fahrenheit above normal [ . . . . ]  In our rapidly changing world, no place is too distant or too far away to matter. Like it or not, we are all in this together."

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Titanic Earth Sinks While Tom Perez and the DNC Help Sink It

August 28, 2018, Lukas Ross, an opinion contributor at Thehill.com, reported,"Just two months ago, the DNC voted unanimously to refuse donations from political action committees, or PACs, run by fossil fuel corporations [ . . . .] The August resolution is a half-clever twisting of words that uses fossil fuel workers as props to justify continuing to take corporate cash. It guarantees that money from Democrats who happen to work in the industry will always be welcome, whether the contributions come 'individually or through their unions' or employers' political action committees.'”

Justin Worland on August 14, 2018, at time.com had a similar response: "At the heart of the conflict are the two million plus jobs in the oil, gas and coal industries that could disappear as the world moves to clean energy sources. Many of those positions pay six-figure salaries and offer benefits that exceed comparable positions in other fields [ . . . . ] '[Labor groups'] future self interest lies in getting on board,' says Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency that deals with labor issues. 'There are no jobs on a dead planet.'"

Commondreams.org reported August 23, 2018, "'It’s deeply disappointing to see the DNC resist the growing momentum within the party for bold climate action,' said May Boeve, Executive Director of 350 Action. 'This political u-turn is bizarrely out of touch with the hundreds of candidates and elected officials committing to sever financial ties with Big Oil. It’s past time for Democratic leadership to step up and put their constituents ahead of fossil fuel interests. We need support for policies that move us toward a 100% renewable energy economy and lift up community-led solutions to climate change now.'"

Thanks to blog visitors this week from the United States, Ukraine, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, and Portugal.