Sunday, October 20, 2019

the only thing that ever has

Today I lived in the kind of world I want.

The new neighbors asked me to help transform some of their yard into native plants. I felt intimidated so asked other neighbors and friends to help. Two friends who couldn’t participate, donated plants and offered tools including a wheelbarrow. Another friend stopped by in the midst of his busy day to encourage us. A neighbor who didn’t know the new neighbors but is an extraordinary gardener, showed up with tools, plants and a cheery disposition. Another friend brought tools and expertise regarding plant placement in relation to sunlight and drainage.

At first the task seemed insurmountable. Eradicate grass, move rocks, pull up invasives then figure out where to put all the donated plants. But little by little, through the course of the morning, through the bagels and muffins, through the joking, digging, dividing, planning, a garden began to take shape.

Rocks became a meandering border sprinkled with lambs ears. Joe Pye and Big Bluestem sentry the back, tall phlox flank the side fence, flowering quince claimed a spot in the opposite corner. Mint, rosemary and oregano bask in a sunny patch closest to the kitchen door. Spirea settled by the garage. Milkweed seeds found crevices throughout. Cardboard covers the patches cleared for next time.

Then, an open air lunch on the deck with champagne and Chinese. Getting acquainted now over Kung Pao instead of poke weed, we admired our work; astonished by what we created in just a few hours. A handful of people through shared tools, shared beauty, shared knowledge, shared hospitality, we transformed a part of the world.

Why this poor picture that doesn't capture the details? Because it is imperfect, reflects us. Captures a work in progress, reflects community. 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Mead

Thursday, October 3, 2019

I can't even with this.

This checklist is played out, environmentalists. WTF. How can the people who scream science all the damn time peddle this shit? Are you not down with math or logic? 

First, the title: Climate Change Mitigation Checklist. You know what I use a checklist for? Groceries. Camping supplies. To help ready my daughter for a sleepover. But let me get this right. We live in a time of unprecedented drought, violent AF unnatural weather events, some countries under threat of being submerged, the populace of other countries walking thousands of miles away from native lands rendered inhabitable because of climate change, increasing numbers of environmental defenders killed (four per week in 2017), and you have a checklist. Yes, please hang your laundry to dry. Check.

Are we defining mitigate in the same way? Because this simply doesn't add up.

Here’s what’s offensive about this list:  

One, who can afford to buy carbon offsets, switch to a 100% carbon free electric company, replace appliances, buy an EV, buy seasonal and local food, live close to work, get solar, get rid of lawn? Who has time to hang laundry, pester politicians regularly, use a scythe, snowshoe to work?

It takes privilege to fulfill this checklist-time, money, resource, access. Further, it is a vapid, insensitive list when you consider that those most vulnerable and have been suffering for decades from climate change don’t have a fraction of the things on the damn list in the first place to change. People in the global south are literally fighting for their lives while global northerners fight for their way of life. 

Two, remember when women were given tips to avoid rape? Walk with your keys between your knuckles, take a self defense class, drive with a cut out of a man in the car, don’t leave your drink unattended, wear modest clothing, don’t jog at night, get a dog (or a recording of one) if you live alone, carry mace, avoid certain places at night, etc. We can see how well that works for women. 

This is environmental patriarchy. Global companies, banks and governments Epstein and Cosby the planet and its inhabitants but you suggest I attend a protest. Tell me again how that mitigates systemic exploitation? Just as those 'protective' measures do not stop women from being victimized by predators, reusing my grocery bag won't mitigate climate change. 

I am not interested in actions that maintain environmental privilege and patriarchy.