After the recent hurricanes we heard Scott Pruitt and others talk about how now is not the time to be talking about climate change, how we should be focused on helping the people who need help.After the devastating loss of life in Las Vegas many of our elected officials expressed the same sentiment related to talking about gun control.These types of deflections and deferrals are incredibly frustrating.With climate change enhanced storms, fires, floods, and mass shootings becoming common events; that deferral approach will never provide the time for real discussions, but perhaps that is the point.If you kick over the sand on a sidewalk ant hill, the ants will immediately begin working to rebuild and fix their home.They will not stop and ask themselves if there are any actions they could take that would improve the sustainability of their home nor put critical thought in to how to prevent further disruption.As humans, we do stop and ask questions and this has led to countless advances in society that have increased our safety and lifespan.If we had always taken the ant approach, our life expectancy would be like that of a caveman.
The other thing we as humans often do when domestic terrorism happens is shrug our shoulders with a sort of ‘oh well, if someone wants to do bad things they will find a way’ attitude.This is absolutely true, but I strongly disagree with the complacency, dismissiveness, and acceptance of the statement.Throughout history we have implemented countless new precautions and policies to help thwart and minimize the loss of life.After the Oklahoma City bombing, federal buildings were modified so they are set back from the street, have blast resistant glass, are engineered so the floors do not collapse, and have cement flower planters or similar that prevent vehicles from getting too close.After 9/11 there were countless security measures implemented to increase the safety of air travel.So when it comes to gun violence, let’s try and find common ground and agree that exploring the opportunities for preventing and minimizing the loss of life is a valuable investment of time.Once we have agreed on that, then we can move on to a more interesting dialog about what those potential solutions could be.So whether it is fighting climate change, domestic terrorism, gun violence or anything that is a deep threat to life itself; let’s be smarter than ants.
Today was a historically sad day as POTUS announced he is withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. I watched his speech announcing this with frustration and anger but am now residing myself that maybe it is for the best. My frustration and anger stem from the flawed logic and false narrative that are being used to justify the exit. The primary focus was about the agreement being a bad deal for the U.S., how it is a ‘massive redistribution of wealth to other countries’ and how if the U.S. remained it would ‘become the laughing stock of the world’. He went on to boast about our existing “natural” (fossil fuel) energy sources and the value of using those to drive our energy needs. He went on to paint a picture of ‘brown outs, black outs, and businesses coming to a halt if the U.S. were to remain in the agreement’. Sometimes I think POTUS chooses to undo things his predecessor did or do the opposite of them just to stick it to him and then creates a narrative to support that, as opposed to critically thinking about what is truly best for our country.
In my opinion, if we were not already, we most definitely are now the laughing stock of the world. We join Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations not to be signed on to the Paris Climate Accord. Ironically, Nicaragua is not on board because they felt the goals were not aggressive enough and Syria has other priorities as you can imagine. Scott Pruitt (EPA) got to follow on and mentioned how ‘America finally has a president who answers only to the American people and not to special interests’. Which American people does he answer to when making such decisions? It is not the hundreds of U.S. based companies who asked him to remain in the accord, it is not the leaders of organized religions, it is not the countless U.S. scientists, and it is not the majority of Americans who support remaining in the agreement.
Consider that in the U.S. the clean energy sector is growing at 10x the rest of the U.S. economy. The idea of making America great again by reviving the coal industry, fracking, and drilling is short sighted and today marks the most irresponsible act of this president to date in my opinion. The silver lining is that had the U.S. remained in the accord, we would have been a total PITA for the other nations under the current administration. Now, they can forge ahead uninhibited as they have declared they will. As other nations adopt a clean energy economy with a carbon fee and dividend policy, It is logical to assume that the U.S. will at some point in the future face tariffs, sanctions, and taxes on our exports to account for the cost of carbon used to create those. If we follow the current MAGA mantra, the U.S. is certain to be left behind and let a huge opportunity to be world leader and innovator pass us by. It is sad that we cannot count on our own government to protect the habitability of our beautiful planet, but perhaps we can get this done via cities, states, and businesses until such a time that we have a leader with common sense and courage.
For a few weeks now I have been thinking about how to surround myself with more positive things and just as importantly, how to minimize my time with things that I do not find fulfilling or rewarding.This is a bit of a real challenge for me in some regards.I like to stay informed and yet much of the information I see brings on feelings of despair and hopelessness as it zaps motivation.One thing that has been going pretty well is my participation in a program through work geared towards helping me get healthier.I weigh in daily and the scale automatically uploads the data for my health coach to see.I also have to log all food intake, exercise, etc.In short, the program adds accountability, reasonable goals, and tracking which have been helping me make positive changes.As someone who has struggled with their weight most of my adult life, I am hopeful this approach will invoke lasting changes.
This week, my health coach encouraged me to make an “un-do list” which aligns quite well with what I was already thinking about in terms of getting more positive.Her sample list is below and I have added some additional (mildly comical) thoughts below and plan to spend some of my day off today “unning”.I will need to think more about additional un-do options.
For me this will be cleaning up my Facebook feed, unsubscribing from e-mail feeds, and limiting time with people who are unjoyful. Kindness matters.
i.If the bulk of your contact with me is in regards to asking me for money so you can do pointless things like sending Scott Pruitt (EPA) as many Climate Change for Dummies books as possible, I am unsubscribing.
ii.If your friends call my empathy towards indigenous people dumb, I am unfollowing you
iii.If you are aware of my efforts and goals towards a healthier body and you take joy in shaming me for drinking a 6oz can of apple juice because of all of the sugar it contains, consider yourself unned.
iv.If you do not “believe” in science…
I have done pretty well here but need to continue to improve and be vigilant about portion control and rationing sweets
Over-doing the over-thinking
Maybe I did too much of this on #1 above
More social media than socializing
See 1a (or 1-1 as this goofier editing program made it).
I am also thinking of invoking phones down time for portions of some evenings. Sometimes our family of four are all within 8 feet of each other and all in our phones.
More hateful than grateful
This is a big one. It is easy for me to get riled up about the current negative actions on the environment and spending more time with those working on and implementing solutions as opposed to fighting with the naysayers will make me more grateful.
Doing someone else’s to do list rather than my own
There are some areas of my life where this occurs but not too many. I think of this as needing to ask and be honest with myself about how some things make me feel and then making adjustments as necessary.