The Planet and Puerto Rico: Unincorporated Territories

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Much of Puerto Rico is still without power. But it may be that Puerto Rico will lead the way for the U.S. mainland by developing a renewable energy power grid that replaces its dependence on fossil fuels.

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While Elon Musk of Tesla proposes building a new renewable energy power grid to replace the destroyed carbon-producing fossil fuel-dependent grid, the Trump administration is shoring up the fossil fuel grid back on the U.S. mainland.

The Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, on Monday said he would sign a proposed rule Tuesday rescinding Obama’s Clean Power Plan, established in 2015 to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions.

Pruitt spoke at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Hazard, Kentucky — coal country.

“Here’s the president’s message: The war on coal is over,” Pruitt said. “Regulatory power should not be used by any regulatory body to pick winners and losers.” – Yahoo Finance, Oct. 9, 2017

Coal and oil are shipped at great expense to Puerto Rico from the mines of Hazard, Kentucky and the oil refineries of Houston. Puerto Rico, an unincorporated third world U.S. Territory, has been the loser. So have the people of Hazard who’ve been led to believe that winning the the war on coal will secure their future.

In the world of climate departure — not just climate change, but departure with no way back to what we considered normal — we’re all losers when the departure is denied.

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Governor Ricardo Rosselló and Elon Musk

The sun, on the other hand, is indigenous to Puerto Rico.

Could it be that a poor unincorporated Territory in the dark without power would lead the world by building a new grid lit by a source that shines without discrimination on winners and losers in Puerto Rico and in Hazard?

Perhaps, if the Governor of Puerto Rico comes to an agreement with the Elon Musk and the Tesla Corporation, the light may yet go on across the world that the planet itself is an unincorporated territory.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, October 10, 2017.

 

 

The Ladder

I’m working this morning on the familiar spiritual of Jacob’s Ladder, trying to unpack why it is so meaningful to people at different life stages and in all sorts of circumstances. I’m looking back now over 72 years of singing it or – or shunning it at one point along the way. I didn’t like the “soldier” part.

We are climbing Jacob’s ladder
We are climbing Jacob’s ladder
We are climbing Jacob’s ladder,
Soldiers of the cross.

 

We are climbing higher, higher….

Why did it mean so much to me as a teenager “climbing higher, higher”? It was a spiritual journey, a confusing one that tried to connect the war-torn, racist world of Earth with heaven, and the call to climb higher, higher to close the gap. But I suspect psychologically it also gave me some assurance about the challenges of growing up, getting wiser perhaps, more independent, climbing into adulthood. The journey was a struggle that made me feel sometimes like a soldier inside my own skin and the world around me.

But long before I sang it in church camp, it was sung by American slaves. It expressed the faith and hope of liberation from chattel slavery. They sang without apology as “soldiers of the cross” (beaten, tortured and crucified like Jesus), on their way up “every rung” going higher, higher (farther north) to a land that lured them like heaven itself.

I go to YouTube and find Pete Seeger’s wonderful, cheerful rendition that replaces the original “soldier of the cross” with “brothers, sisters, all” and remember that I, too, have joined him in feeling the need to eliminate the military language. “Soldier” and “cross” are oxymoronic. It was the soldiers who did the crucifying, and it was the soldiers of the white militias who terrorized the slaves’ hopes.

No sooner do I listen to Peter’s rendition than I listen to Paul Robson who found no reason to eliminate the “soldiers of the cross” – perhaps because Robson knew that he and we are engaged in a kind of combat and the strange pairing of soldier and cross carries its own power and meaning. Robson, as you may know, was a Communist who would have seen every rung going higher, higher the way Pete saw it – steps on the upward course of human progress toward a kind of heaven conceived as classless society, a kinder world. “Thy kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven.”

I have been in all of these places a thousand times. Youthful, hopeful, visionary, climbing. But now I concentrate on things I missed in the earlier stages of youth, building a career, rising higher and higher on the professional and economic ladders of “success” or imagining and hoping the world was getting better.

I notice now as never before that the biblical text of Jacob’s dream is not of Jacob’s upward climb. Jacob never steps on the ladder. Angels (messengers) do, ascending to the heavens and descending to where he is in a kind of no-man’s land where everything he has ever known is at risk, the way I am in an in-between time between the today’s earthly beauty and climate departure, the scorching of the planet. Like Jacob, I have an “Aha!” moment: “Surely YHWH (the un-pronounable Hebrew name for G-d) is in this place, and I did not know it!”

So I’m reflecting now on the importance of this temporary, mortal, finite “place” in time where YHWH (the Breath of Life) is already present, and the need to surrender the idea that I need to climb to somewhere else.

Climate Change: Changing the Way we Think

Video

“We are nature; nature is us. We are NOT the exception to nature.” Rev. Gordon Stewart looks at basic religious assumptions of Western culture and the need to reinterpret the stories that got us here. He looks at the stories of creation, Cain and Abel, and the Wise Men who “departed by another way” as holding clues to the change in consciousness that is required in our time.

A Climate Dialogue: the Challenge Before Us

The day Pete Seeger died, Susan Lince composed a song on climate change in honor of Pete. The song, written as a lament spoken back to us by our grandchildren and all future generations, asks repeatedly “You knew… Why didn’t you take a stand?”

Susan and John Lince-Hopkins created Requiem2020.org as a means of rallying artists to widen public consciousness and awaken a new sense of ecological responsibility in the face of climate change and climate departure. John and Susan taught and painted in Alaska. John, a scientist as well as painter, helped supervise the clean-up operation following Exxon-Valdez.

Click HERE for the Evite to First Tuesday Dialogues’ program on Climate Departure led by John and Susan. The song on climate departure, arranged with Susan’s grandson, will debut at this event.

Date: Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 P.M.
Place: Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church, 145 Engler Blvd., Chaska, MN 55318.

Winston Churchill on Climate Departure

What might Winston Churchill say about climate change and the prognosis of climate departure around 2020?

“So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent…  Owing to past neglect, in the face of the plainest warnings, we have entered upon a period of danger.  The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close.  In its place we are now entering a period of consequences….  We cannot avoid this period, we are in it now…” 

                 – Winston Churchill, November 12, 1936

 

The Last Lion - Winston Churchill

The Last Lion – Winston Churchill

The View from the Bristlecone Pines

Bristlecone Pines photo

Bristlecone Pines photo

Clinging tenaciously to the ridgetops
and twisted by the winds,
bristlecone pines are the oldest
living trees on Earth. The oldest
of them, found only in the White
Mountains of California, are
4,600 years old. Those pines were
already 1,400 years old when the
Egyptians were building the pyramids.

The Bristlecone Pines on Windy Ridge,
Colorado (picture, taken by friend
Harry Strong) are nearly 1,000 years
old.

These gnarled trees have endured
strong winds, cold temperatures,
drought and poor soils. They learn
to grow horizontally. The sign posted
on Windy Ridge invites visitors to
“walk through these survivors and
stand watch with them over the vast
South Park.”

How will these remarkably adaptive
creatures do with the projection of
Climate Departure? Are they calling
out for help from down below, echoed
back to them in song by Pete Seeger’s
“God’s Countin’ on Me; God’s Countin’
on you”?

You might say that Pete’s life was a
reply to the Bristlecone pines, a
modern day Habakkuk whose writing
we have from the time when the Bristle-
cone Pines were just teenagers:

“I will stand upon my
watch, and set me upon the tower,
and will watch to see [God] will say
to me, that I will answer when I am
reproved. And the LORD answered me,
and said, Write the vision and make
it plain upon tablets, that he may
run who reads it.”

The Perpetual Question

Yet Again, for the 21st Century:

The Perpetual Question
 
Based upon a preponderance of evidence, the question of climate change and its potential ramifications is no longer a valid debate for the 21st century.  Once again, like thunder reverberating from Genesis, comes the ancient and perpetual question:

                             “Am I my Brother’s Keeper”?

As we reach the tipping point of climate and climate departure becomes a global concern through the remainder of the 21st Century, a driving and as yet unaddressed question looms large before us:

          “In light of what we now know, how are we to be the keepers of our brothers and sisters as our world changes and climate stress affects vast populations”?

The UN High Commission on Refuges (UNHCR) and the governments of the world have not yet addressed this question nor adopted a legal definition of “Climate Refugee”.

The year 2020 is a statistical marker, more or less, when we begin to see the first indications of climate departure in the western Pacific near Indonesia.  In the ensuing 50 years or so, climate departure is projected to spread from the tropics to the poles until it becomes global.

The time is NOW to begin the discussion. 

– John Lince-Hopkins, scientist, artist, and developer of Requiem.org. (http://requiem2020.org)

NOTE TO THE READER: Please chime in here or on Requiem.org and help spread awareness and the consideration of the question. Thank you, John, for raising the perpetual question.

Lao Tzu on Planet Earth

In harmony with the Tao
The sky is clear and spacious
The Earth is solid and full
All creatures flourish together
Content with the way they are
Endlessly repeating themselves
Endless renewed.

When man interferes with the Tao,
The sky becomes filthy
The earth becomes depleted
The equilibrium crumbles
Creatures become extinct.

The Master views the parts with compassion
Because he understands the whole.
His constant practice is humility
He doesn’t glitter like a jewel
But lets himself be shaped by the Tao
As rugged and common as a stone.

– Lao Tzu

This was sent by the Brazilian flutist and saxophonist who played last Friday evening in Hudson, WI. He is the first of the artists to respond to the Call to create artists “Before the Planetary Requiem” in the face of scientific evidence for Climate Departure. “Before the Planetary Requiem” was posted here on Views from the Edge yesterday. Interesting that his response is from one of the ancient figures of holy and practical wisdom.

Emily Dickenson: Earth Crammed with Heaven

Earth is crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees
Takes off his shoes –
The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.

– Emily Dickinson

Join the Call to Artists to take off your shoes before climate departure leaves us with no blackberries to pluck. Read yesterday’s post: Before the Planetary Requiem

Before the Planetry REQUIEM

If scientists are right (see Nature), by 2020 the first effects of Climate Departure should already be a part of the human experience.

In light of both science and faith, Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church in Chaska, MN is issuing this invitation in anticipation of Earth Day, 2020, in hopes it will catch on. The Call is conceived by visual artist and scientist John Lince-Hopkins, a member of Shepherd of the Hill:

EARTH DAY
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A GLOBAL CALL TO CREATIVE PEOPLE OF ALL TYPES TO CREATE, PERFORM, AND DISPLAY THEIR BEST WORKS:
COMPOSERS,
MUSICIANS,
MUSICAL GROUPS,
RECORDING ARTISTS,
AUTHORS,
POETS,
VISUAL ARTISTS,
PHOTOGRAPHERS,
VIDEOGRAPHERS,
FIBER ARTISTS,
PERFORMANCE ARTISTS,
DANCERS,
…AND THOSE UN-NAMED.

JUST SEVEN SHORT YEARS TO CREATE SEMINAL WORKS ABOUT THE STATE OF OUR PLANET AND OUR REALIZATION OF THE INEVITABLE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR CLIMATE TO ALL LIVING THINGS AND THE ECOSYSTEMS THAT SUPPORT THEM.

Think Globally, Act Locally!