Another wildfire in Boulder, Colorado.
Following the Marshall Fire in December.
NCAR Fire on March 26, 2022
Zippy and I were heading out of a very windy Boulder this afternoon when he saw the smoke and exclaimed, “Wildfire!” As I drove, he took the above photo at 2:30 (about 30 minutes after it started.) At times, we could see the bright red-orange flames. As we continued driving south on Highway 93 with our windows rolled up, smoke odors permeated the car. The air was hazy. Our beautiful afternoon was suddenly filled with anxiety.
This was our first time in Boulder since the Marshall Fire and our appointment had taken us past areas devastated by that fire. Blackened trees reaching for the blue sky next to homes that were nothing but smoke-stained brick and concrete foundations. Rubble. We’d gotten emotional at those sights and then, an hour later, saw the smoke of yet another wildfire. It was happening again.
The climate crisis is a collective trauma for everyone, but especially those who just three months ago experienced a wildfire. My heart is with the people of Boulder. I’m not sure what it’s going to take for those in power to make radical changes to avert the worst of what’s to come. So far, the crisis has accelerated to wildfires any time of year.
This morning I woke to Unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke and so chose to run inside on the treadmill. The good news is the 25-minute run worked its usual endorphin magic and I felt much better afterward. The bad news is that while we’re clearly and obviously experiencing climate collapse, we’re all just going about our daily lives.
By James LeeFormerIP at en.wikipedia
The young people of the Sunrise Movement, desperate for a chance at a livable future, worked their asses off to help elect Biden who, compared to Tr*mp, at least gave lip service to climate change. But is Biden really better than a climate denier when his administration boosts a tar sands pipeline that will cross indigenous lands? (While also, by the way, further enriching the already incredibly wealthy Susan Rice, who is an aide to Biden.) You either believe we’re in a crisis and use the enormous powers of your position to enact policy to mitigate the worst effects OR you say all the right things while continuing to coddle the fossil fuel industry.
Zippy and I planned to head to the mountains tomorrow for cleaner air and cooler temperatures (which I recognize is an absolute luxury not available to most people), but now we’re torn. Because does it make sense to drive to Crested Butte when that area is also experiencing Unhealthy air quality? Will we even want or be able to hike out to see the wildflowers?
Apologies for being a downer, but I cannot pretend the climate crisis isn’t happening. This frog wants cooler temperatures.
This weekend has been deathly hot in the Pacific Northwest. You know, the part of the country known for moderate temperatures and lots of moisture?
Parts of Michigan are flooded right now after receiving 7 inches of rain yesterday. SEVEN INCHES OF RAIN IN ONE DAY!
Detroit. June 26, 2021
In a sane world, the powers-that-be would be mobilizing to address the climate crisis. They’d be making huge changes RIGHT NOW to minimize climate collapse. I mean, they see these photos. They live on this planet with the rest of us. Sure, they’ve got money and power, but their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren will be affected. They can’t all take rockets to Mars.
What’re they doing instead? Bowing down to institutional tradition. Bloviating about bipartisanship and preserving the filibuster. They care more about appearances and being the so-called adults in the room than working to ensure a livable future. The Democrats have ALL the power and refuse to wield it.
Why? Because they don’t care.
I loathe the GOP with every fiber of my being, but I give them credit for using their power to advance their agenda. The Dems are just spineless upholders of the status quo. Unfortunately, that status quo is quickly marching us toward an uninhabitable planet.
Because I’m an introvert, I’m maybe better equipped for this quarantine than others. But even though I recharge my batteries by being alone, that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave the company of others. And today, I’m missing my friends of the Sunrise Movement.
Phlox. August 6, 2020.
The entire time I fought alongside them, I was mindful of my very privileged position as a young-at-heart welcomed into the ranks of passionate young people fighting for a livable future. I was also completely unprepared for how quickly that situation could shift. I had no idea that in the very near future I wouldn’t see them regularly at hub meetings, trainings, art builds, and actions. While I didn’t take any of it for granted, it never occurred to me there’d come a time in which we wouldn’t trade smiles across a room and share hugs. I’m writing this with tears in my eyes and a hole in my heart. In addition to the obvious, this pandemic and our government’s botched response has destroyed so much. It hasn’t stopped Sunrise Colorado or those friendships, but it’s completely altered the landscape of each. Today I’m grateful for what we had and mourning all we’ve lost.
Mourning Dove. September 19, 2020
Mother Earth needs us to keep our covenant. We will [. . .] commit to our descendants to work hard to protect this land and water for them. Whether you have feet, wings, fins, or roots, we are all in it together. ~ Winona LaDuke
August 15, 2020
What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on? ~ Henry David Thoreau
Zippy took this photo last month and while today’s air quality isn’t nearly so orange, I’m not spending any time outside. The local air quality index reads “Unhealthy for sensitive groups.” I’ll go out on a limb and say I think this translates to “the air is unhealthy for everyone and everything.”
Exceptionalism?! All over the United States, people are hiding indoors to escape the ravages of the climate crisis. And our elected officials don’t care, so it’ll only get worse.
Earlier this week, I prepared for the coming massive drop in temperature (over 60 degrees in 24 hours) and snowstorm by putting buckets over three of my sedum plants. The sedum had just come into bloom and I couldn’t bear thinking about the bees and butterflies losing that food. While we did lose a huge limb from our red maple, the plants fared better.
September 12, 2020
The sedum survived and my winged friends were out in force today.
(Shout-out to Michelle who would’ve been fifty years old today. She also loved flora and fauna.)
I spent the day in bed reading a Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin detective novel. A wise choice for my physical and mental health, I think. Why? The wildfires continue to rage in Colorado and when I checked my phone at one point today, the weather alert said “91 degrees. Smoky.”
So, it’s no shock that when I dipped into Pixabay just now in search of an image that resonated, I landed on this:
Tonight I shall dream of rain.
I live in Colorado. There are currently four wildfires burning around the state. Here’s a tweet from a Colorado journalist this morning:
I can usually see downtown Denver from my front yard. The last few days the buildings have been obscured by a smoky haze. Right now, I can see the tops of some buildings. But that “good news” is deceptive. I just spent about ten minutes outside, thinking it was okay because there wasn’t a strong odor of smoke. Wrong. I’m now coughing and my lungs are burning.
Just over a year ago, I participated in our Sunrise Movement hub’s first art build. We gathered to create a banner to pressure the Colorado Democratic Party to vote for a presidential debate focused solely on climate.
Our first art build on July 24, 2019. Boulder, CO
Our pressure worked and the representatives for the CO Dems voted YES to a climate debate. However, Tom Perez and the Democratic National Committee shut down our voices. There was no climate debate during the presidential primaries, despite the fact that the majority of people in the U.S. want meaningful action on the climate crisis.
Only two presidential candidates (Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) included serious climate plans in their platforms. Bernie’s earned an A- from Sunrise Movement. The presidential candidate the establishment contorted themselves to install as the party nominee? Well, Joe Biden earned an F-.
My state’s experiencing a years-long drought and record-high temperatures and is literally on fire right now. Except for Rep. Joe Neguse, none of the Colorado congressional delegation supports a Green New Deal. The Democratic representatives all understand that climate change is real, but unless they push for bold and meaningful action, they are no better than the climate deniers in the Republican party.
Meanwhile, Colorado burns.
We interrupt our regularly scheduled program
Climate rally in Boulder, CO. March 15, 2019.
with a message from our sponsor
Climate rally in Boulder, CO. March 15, 2019.
Remember: there is no Planet B.
Zippy and I knocked on doors for Bernie Sanders today. We started out together because he’d never canvassed before, but after one block, Zippy confidently headed out with his own list.
The day was a beautiful experience, in multiple ways. One, it was sunny and downright balmy (high 40s) which was a welcome reprieve after this week’s frigid temperatures and yesterday’s blizzard. Two, we started the day with about 50 enthusiastic volunteers, including a couple with a cute-cute-cute baby. Three, I had some really great conversations with voters I contacted. And four, it was gratifying to canvas for a candidate I truly believe in (as opposed to knocking doors for a lesser evil).
As I said in several of today’s conversations: I’m not naive enough to think our problems will be solved merely by electing Bernie Sanders. We have a lot of fights ahead of us if we’re going to turn this ship around. But the beauty of Bernie’s campaign is that he welcomes we-the-people in those fights. He knows he needs us and he embraces our participation because we will only win if we stand together to fight for the common good (which includes a Green New Deal and Medicare For All).
Bernie Sanders is the one candidate with an army of people ready and willing to take to the streets for equity and justice. Today, I was proud to be a Bernie Bro.
A few days ago I posted about getting arrested and jailed with the young people in our local Sunrise Movement hub. I took the post down when I realized it might somehow be used against me in court. Today I’m back with a link to our GoFundMe page for legal costs.
Please don’t feel obligated to donate, but I thank you in advance if you do throw a few dollars our way. And if you see fit to amplify the message in your social media, I also thank you.
That’s me in solidarity with some of the best and bravest young people I know (Sunrise Movement cohorts) just minutes before we were all handcuffed and taken to jail. Our crime? Asking to be heard on the climate emergency. Asking for justice for the Bella Romero Academy community that has a fracking site less than 700 feet from the school. Asking for a just transition for oil and gas workers so they can have safe, good-paying jobs that don’t poison the environment. Asking for that just transition to focus on the marginalized people and communities most affected by climate injustice.
Waiting to be processed by law enforcement officers after interrupting the State of State speech by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis in the state Capitol Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Some of the 38 activists arrested were in jail 30 hours. An 18-year-old high school girl was released at the same time as me: 28 hours after arrest. Many of us (white women of privilege) feel an even more urgent need to (also) fight for prison reform.** Speaking only for myself, one day in that system was extremely stress-inducing, demoralizing, and disorienting. I thought I knew how bad it was for incarcerated people, but I absolutely didn’t fully understand the emotional toll. The experience was frequently dehumanizing and traumatic.
I have SO MANY thoughts and feelings about those hours. But because my brain is still in recovery mode, I will just say this: We can and must do better.
For the people and the planet.
**After extensive reading, I no longer believe reform is possible. We must abolish the prison industrial complex.
When my friend Laura tipped me off to today’s significance, National Bird Day, I went in search of an appropriate bird photo. Oops. I could look at bird photos for a looong time. So many beauties to choose from. I forced myself to make a decision and settled on this dapper Blue Jay.
Clearwater, Florida. May 3, 2019
Birds are the canaries in the climate change coal-mine. Today and every day, I celebrate their existence. I can’t fathom a world without them. We must make big changes and quickly. #GreenNewDeal
Holding my head high as we head into this new year and decade.
No apologies as I fight for the planet and all inhabitants.
Won’t always look as regal as this bird, but messy is okay.
Achieving a Green New Deal is all that matters.
Mexican Jay. Cave Creek Canyon Ranch, May 16, 2019.
I just got back from a Sunrise Movement action outside the office for the Colorado Democrats. The DNC (Democratic National Committee) is taking a vote later this month to decide whether to hold a presidential debate focused solely on the climate crisis.
Three of the five eligible voters (state officers from the Colorado Dems) have already committed to a YES vote. Today we applied pressure on the two remaining voters. It boggles the mind (and enrages me) that young people must literally beg to be heard on the issue that directly affects their futures on this planet. The good news is we received lots of honks from people in response to our HONK FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL sign. As usual, the citizenry is way ahead of the political establishment.
I’m energized from today’s solidarity with those passionate youth. Let’s hope the DNC does the right thing and votes to accept the win-win opportunity to hold a debate on what efforts are needed in order to avert the worst of the climate crisis. The people want meaningful action. Will the DNC listen?
I’m headed off to Boulder for a Sunrise hub meeting to plan our next steps for achieving a Green New Deal. As mentioned before, I love these young people and their passion and am honored to have their backs as they fight for the planet and a sustainable future. They’ve already changed the conversation about climate change and brought it to the forefront.
Please consider lending your support. Go here to join the movement, find a Green New Deal town hall meeting near you, and/or to make a one-time or monthly donation to support their efforts. Thank you in advance!
I admit to being panicked and overwhelmed by climate change. But, I also feel energized and hopeful at the prospect of a Green New Deal. Here is a new 7+ -minute video (narrated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and beautifully illustrated by Molly Crabapple). In the words of the Sunrise Movement, this is a story from the future. AOC tells the story of the world we won by fighting for a #GreenNewDeal.
Sunrise Movement has organized Green New Deal town hall meetings around the country. Please check out this link to find one near you: sunrisemovement.org/tour
“We can be whatever we have the courage to see.”
They should be in school
instead, fighting for their lives
Youth Climate Strikers
Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.
~ William Wordsworth
I just called my Democratic Senator and Representative in Washington, D.C. to tell their staffers I absolutely support Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey’s twin resolutions for a #GreenNewDeal. Neither staffer could tell me how my so-called representatives felt about this bold plan for stabilizing the climate via jobs and economic/social/environmental justice. We’re headed for a fiery, hot crash and many of the people in power don’t seem to care. I’m exhausted by their willful ignorance, but at the same time I believe we-the-people can and must rise up to protect our natural home. We cannot betray her.
I hope you’ll join me in fighting for the planet. Please call your Representatives and Senators today to urge them to support the Resolution for a Green New Deal.
In this part of the world, we’re in the final hours of 2018 which has been a shit-year in so many ways for the planet and its inhabitants. I don’t have any profound insights to offer. I would, however, like to share this photo I just took from my dining room window.
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. ~ Rabindranath Tagore
It’s not a great picture, but it makes me happy. There’s much going on here (falling snow, flight, eating, turf battles, perching, etc) and I wanted to include this image because birds never, ever fail to brighten my day. I’m hoping they’ll do the same for you. Either way, it feels right to include feathered friends as I say goodbye to a difficult year.
The one other consistently bright spot for me this year has been the Sunrise Movement. No one is fighting harder and more effectively in the face of climate change than these young people with their action plan, aka the Green New Deal, that includes massive job creation. PLEASE consider pledging a monthly donation (mine is $5 per month) to this incredible organization that’s given me more hope than I thought possible.
I wish you and yours a Happy New Year! Here’s to continuing the good fight in 2019!
This photo was taken two years ago. We haven’t had any moisture in weeks and so I’m posting this in hopes the weather goddesses will take a hint and bless us with some snow.
I’d love a Christmas miracle!
Yesterday I spent four long and very cold hours in a library parking lot. I was there to educate people on Colorado’s Prop 112. I was hoping voters would support the proposition which would’ve created safer setbacks for fracking sites. I was hoping they’d agree that industrial oil & gas operations don’t belong nears schools and communities, and that public health and safety is paramount.
Some of the people I spoke with definitely cared. Some, however, didn’t think children’s health was at risk. My most gut-wrenching interaction in those four hours was with a young woman holding an exceedingly smiley and cute toddler. As I explained to her I was out there because of my concern for children’s well-being, she unzipped her son’s hoodie and showed me the shirt underneath. Someone in their household had dressed that small little boy with the beautiful smile in a NO ON PROP 112 shirt.
The oil & gas industry dumped millions of dollars into defeating Prop 112 and yesterday it succeeded. And today? Well, I just logged onto Twitter and saw this:
The site that is now on fire? It’s owned by Noble Energy, one of the biggest contributors to the No on 112 campaign.
It’d almost be funny if the whole situation wasn’t so horrifying.
When I think of October, I picture pumpkins and dried cornstalks. A nip in the air. Ghosts, goblins, and headstones. When I think of October, I do not think of clematis in bloom.
And yet, here we are.
It’s a new week and I’m in fake-it-’til-I-make-it mode. There are seriously messed up things happening on the planet and my gut instinct is to stay in bed reading books and eating toast for the rest of my life. But that’s exactly what all the horrible people out there wreaking havoc right now want; they’re counting on wearing us down so that we start averting our gaze.
Nope. Books and toast are good, but constant vigilance is essential.
Today I’m gonna make like a prairie dog . . . and keep fighting the good fight.