Climate Departure Roadmap

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This article on climate change and the roadmap of the Paris Accord goals brings to mind the Navajo saying that inspired Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness begins: “If we keep going the way we’re going, we’re going to get where we’re going.”

Read Scientists made a detailed “roadmap” for meeting the Paris climate goals. It’s eye-opening and call your Congressperson, Senator, and the White House to open more eyes.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 24, 2017

 

 

REAL Men Smoke Camels

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America was a different place in the ’50s and ’60s. Posting the ’50s “Alka Selzer” ad this morning took me back to this ad for “Camels” on which my generation grew up.

7-camels-more-doctors-smoke-camels

Some things have changed for the better. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stopped this kind of real men ad, but only after real science researched the truth about cigarette smoke and cancer, resulting in successful lawsuits against the tobacco industry’s faux science. Is there a lesson here for today? Is faux science again trumping real science

  • Gordon C. Stewart, former real man(1966-1985) now looking to real doctors for treatment and the EPA and FDA for real  environmental protection in America, March 4, 2017.

 

 

A quick dose of humor

This comment on “You will be like God” (VFTE, 01/11/17) is too good to hide. Carolyn wrote, “Your mention of the nuclear arsenals reminded me that we all need humor, so . . . .

The head of the EPA requests an audience with President Obama and says, “Mr. President, why not put the nuclear codes in a science textbook? They will never find them.”

Carolyn and I played in the same sandbox way back in kindergarten!

– Gordon C. Stewart, January 15, 2016

Pledging Allegiance

Yesterday an email from MoveOn invited me to host a gathering as part of a national resistance movement to the soon-to-be U.S. Administration. I began to fill out the form, but something didn’t feel right. I’m not a good groupie, but it was more than that.

The article that appeared in my inbox this morning puts its finger on what feels right and what feels wrong with almost everything I seek to do with respect to the specter of losing most everything for which I’ve worked over a lifetime. Thanks to Michael, the psychologist we met last week on The Nation cruise, for sharing this thoughtful piece. In it’s light, I think I’ll fill out the form and plan a candlelight vigil in the town square. No yelling. No screaming. Just a pledge to, and prayers for, the future.

The sections in green were added to this reposting for those who wish to get to what we take away from the commentary.

I Pledge Allegiance to . . .

I pledge allegiance to . . . what?

The Electoral College, to no one’s serious surprise, voted Donald Trump in as the nation’s 45th president, and the pot of outrage in the American spectator democracy begins to boil.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no — no to all his right-wing and idiotic cabinet and Team Trump appointments, no to his conflicts of interest and serial tweets, no to his sexism, his reckless arrogance, his ego, his finger on the nuclear button.

The word of the day is resistance. For instance, Nancy Altman and Ira Lupu, writing at Huffington Post, point out that Trump, though legally the new American president, lacks political legitimacy, thanks to widespread voter suppression, his huge loss in the popular vote and the anachronistic absurdity of the Electoral College; and even more disturbingly, is a thin-skinned, dishonest, immature jerk, utterly lacking the moral authority a national leader must project. These are flaws that cannot be ignored.

“Other elected officials, the media, and the citizenry at large have no obligation to afford him the slightest political respect,” they write. “Rather, the next four years should be a time of resistance and outright obstructionism. Opponents of Trump should be at least as aggressive in challenging the political legitimacy and moral authority of his presidency as Republicans were in disrespecting President Obama, whose political legitimacy and moral authority were beyond reproach.”

Wow, I get it. Don’t let Trump get away with anything! Fight every alt-right and nutcase appointment he tries to make, every racist or reckless policy he tries to implement. Above all, don’t let him shift the paradigm of normal.

There’s only one problem here, and it’s the same problem the Hillary Clinton campaign faced and had no way to overcome. The “old normal” — the Washington consensus, the status quo — that Trump is so successful at selectively mocking, even as he remains utterly enmeshed in it, is a ravenous predator and looming disaster of global proportions.

I pledge allegiance to the United States of War? To the United States of Prisons? To the United States of Poverty and Infrastructure Decay and Contaminated Water?

Indeed, the concept of American exceptionalism ensconced in the old normal and thoughtlessly touted by the corporate media is Trumpesque in its narcissism. And its time is running out. The economy is breaking down for much of the working class and some of our deep, foundational flaws — the racism, the militarism, the environmental exploitation — are getting increasingly difficult to avoid noticing.

The challenge presented by Trump requires something more than resistance. I believe it requires reaching for, and pledging our allegiance to, a much larger, more compassionate and peace-oriented country than the one we have now. It requires pledging allegiance to the planet and the future.

But what does this look like?

Half a century ago, the emerging nation could be seen in the civil rights movement. Today, perhaps the best place to look is Standing Rock, where an old wound, you might say, is insisting on its right to heal.

“What can we learn from their struggle?” Audrea Lim asks in The Nation. “Bombarded for months with tear gas, sound cannons, rubber bullets and water hoses (often in freezing temperatures, no less), the camp at Standing Rock grew from around ten in April to thousands by fall. They transformed what might have otherwise been a remote, invisible, rural struggle into national headline news.”

The struggle, she notes, had blatantly racist origins: “Originally meant to traverse the Missouri River north of Bismarck, city residents complained that it would threaten their municipal water supply, and the pipeline was re-routed to nearer the Standing Rock reservation in September 2014.”

She adds: “It is significant that Bismarck is 92.4 percent white.”

This could have been just one more isolated wrong, but for some reason the national or perhaps global moment was ripe for it to be something else. The struggle for water rights, for the sanctity of the land, for a wounded people’s dignity, sent a tremor through the whole country. Something sacred — to use a risky, old-fashioned word — had been violated. And maybe we’re no longer simply Consumer America, using up our resources, destroying our rivers, clotting our veins, to consequences born only by the racially and culturally marginalized. We used to be, but this is changing.

“We live today at a moment of transition between worlds.”

So writes Charles Eisenstein in The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. The world that’s giving way — and the story, or mythology, that sustains it — is the world of “survival of the fittest” and winner takes all, the world of domination and conquest, isolation from nature, a dismissal of life itself as less than sacred.

“Today,” writes Eisenstein, “it is increasingly obvious that this was a bubble world built atop massive human suffering and environmental degradation.”

It isn’t merely resistance that will replace the bubble world of exploitation, but a new and deeper consciousness of connection with all of life and a reawakening to what is sacred.

I pledge allegiance to the world that is coming into being.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Robert Koehler

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is now available. Contact him at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

My, O, My! How things (don’t) change

Returning from a week with thoughtful speakers from The Nation magazine, including Vegans Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich, took this  guilty but yet-to-repent meat-eater back to a guest commentary that aired on Minnesota Public Radio inelizabeth_harper_kucinich 2010.

Back then, the Affordable Care Act had just become law. My, O, my, how things do change! And not always for the better, although Elizabeth still hopes it’s a matter of time before the world wakes up to the industrial agricultural devastation that contributes to climate departure. As for health care? Who knows?

Click Commentary: Processed foods making us sick to listen to MPR’s “All Things Considered” guest commentary of May 22, 2010 when we assumed believed passage of the Affordable Care Act had put the national health care issue behind us.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Winter Solstice, December 21, 2016

 

 

 

Standing firm @ Standing Rock

Tomorrow, December 5, is a watershed moment.

It’s the government-ordered deadline for the oil pipeline protesters to vacate the federal land where they have camped for water preservation since early 2016.

Today, the eve of the confrontation, several thousand U.S. military veterans are joining the protesters. So is a large group of religious leaders from around the country and world. Why? Because some moments are watershed moments, times when the watershed itself is in danger. Times when the earth cries out, as in the biblical story of Cain and Abel. Times like today when, according to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, “our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger.” The People’s conference document continues as follows.

We confront the terminal crisis of a civilizing model that is patriarchal and based on the submission and destruction of human beings and nature that accelerated since the industrial revolution.

The capitalist system has imposed on us a logic of competition, progress and limitless growth. This regime of production and consumption seeks profit without limits, separating human beings from nature and imposing a logic of domination upon nature, transforming everything into commodities: water, earth, the human genome, ancestral cultures, biodiversity, justice, ethics, the rights of peoples, and life itself.

Under capitalism, Mother Earth is converted into a source of raw materials, and human beings into consumers and a means of production, into people that are seen as valuable only for what they own, and not for what they are.

Capitalism requires a powerful military industry for its processes of accumulation and imposition of control over territories and natural resources, suppressing the resistance of the peoples. It is an imperialist system of colonization of the planet.

Tomorrow those who stand firm at Standing Rock face forcible removal, arrest, and violence. In this watershed moment, they will do what America’s First Peoples have always done. They will beat the drums and lift their voices in prayer to the Great Spirit, standing firm at Standing Rock to honor Mother Earth and future generations.

Today, tomorrow, and for years to come, Standing Rock will symbolize the necessary turn from a civilizing model that insists on “man over nature”. A time when we turned to believing we (the human species) are above nature.  A watershed moment when we came to see that water is us. We are water. We are nature. Nature is us.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, December 4, 2016.

 

 

Scorched and Torched

While global warming accelerates and the rest of the world takes responsible action, we in the USA have decided to fire up the coal to warm ourselves to death.

The Paris Agreement on climate change is toast. It was scorched November 8 by election of a climate change denier who declared global warming was a hoax. Green is about to be torched and scorched into orange.

scorched-earth

“Scorched Earth” – Margo Talbot, All That Glitters

Thanks to “The Daily Post” for the invitation to write a piece on the word ‘scorched‘. Lots of us are feeling scorched these days. it’s the first time in my life when orange made me feel blue.

Kyrie eleison.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Nov. 20, 2016.

Sierra Club: “#BlackLivesMatter!”

Sierra Club, the nation’s highly respected environmental conservation and preservation non-profit, weighed in on the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile this week with this statement by Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune:

“It is impossible to not be outraged by the devastating images of black people being gunned down by police on a shockingly regular basis and it should be impossible to remain silent in the face of this sustained injustice any longer. Sadly, the tragedies that are unfolding before our eyes are just a fraction of the violence that has been happening off camera in our nation for far too long.

“The Sierra Club believes all people deserve a healthy planet with clean air and water, a stable climate and safe communities. That means all people deserve equal protection under the law and the right to a life free of discrimination, hatred and violence. Unfortunately, those aspirations and goals are not a reality in our country, and that is why that is why the Sierra Club stands in solidarity with all of those saying #‎BlackLivesMatter, demanding justice, accountability, and action to confront the racism and inequality that has allowed these tragedies to persist. We can do better and by standing together to work for the changes that are needed, we will.”

The violence on the street and the violence to the environment are cut from the same cloth.

Thanks to Sierra Club’s executive director for making the connection and taking the risks of fallout among purists donors who don’t want the Club to stray outside of its core environmental mission.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, writing from Georgetown, MT, July 8, 2016.

The Wisdom of Adalbert Stifter

“Don’t the overwhelming majority believe that mankind is the crowning achievement of Creation, that man is better than everything, even things we haven’t yet investigated? And don’t those people who aren’t able to escape the bonds of their own ego think that the entire Universe, even the countless worlds of outer space, is just a backdrop for this ego? And yet it might be quite different.”
― Adalbert Stifter (1805 – 1868), Indian Summer

Click HERE for more about Adalbert Stifter.

 

 

Verse – Night Vision

The rotating blades make the red lights
appear to blink atop the windfarm
electrical generators far in the distance, while In the back yard the lightening bugs flash their need for love.
All our chargers need charging, too.
Electronic lives have been drained
by machines powered by dinosaurs.
Coal miners and oil rig workers
die to supply the energy we covet.
Piles of nuclear wastes surround us
glowing unblinking in the dark.

  • Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, June 6, 2016