Welcome back to Movement Mondays! I usually share information about frontline communities that are bearing the worst effects of the climate crisis and then include an action item you can take in support of those communities. But this week, as the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) caters to the 600+ fossil fuel lobbyists in attendance (a 25% increase over last year’s COP), I’ve decided to share “good news” innovations from around the world in hopes of expanding your perception of what’s possible.
FRANCE is working on legislation that would require parking lots with 80 or more spaces to install solar panels. This requirement is for new and existing parking lots. The government estimates the panels will generate as much power as ten nuclear reactors.
MEDELLIN, COLUMBIA is the country’s second largest city and now has 30 “green corridors” comprised of native trees and tropical plants. There are over 12 miles of interconnected shady walking and bicycle routes. The vegetation has lessened the air pollution and dropped the urban temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius since 2018.
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS is the site of the first Great Bubble Barrier. This innovation traps plastic in canals, rivers, and streams, and prevents it from flowing into the ocean. Two-thirds of plastic waste in the oceans is transported there by canals and streams.
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN has built the world’s first electrified road. A portion of the road connecting to the airport recharges electric vehicles as they drive over it. Sweden has plans to expand this innovation throughout the country.
This is just a tiny sampling of what’s being done around the world. We have the technology to do good things for the people and planet, and it’s on us to push for these innovative practices.
Buffalo Creek. June 22, 2022
Reminder to self
quote: hope is a discipline
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
~ Mary Oliver
June 22, 2022
I don’t know about you, but the events of the past weeks have cranked up my attention-deficit tendencies as my brains thinks “I need to work on that issue which affects this and this issue, and then there’s this other issue which is also connected to this that and the other issue, but they’re all so so important and need immediate attention, so where to focus?”
And that’s how they want it. They’ve intentionally created chaos and hardship in order to grind us down. A whack-a-mole world in which we’re forced to constantly swing our mallets at the problems, diluting our energies and coating us in a thick layer of despair. (Brace yourselves for an upcoming SCOTUS opinion on the EPA and the end of environmental regulations.)
But, as Mariame Kaba says “Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair.” [Note: one of the best books I’ve read, ever, is Kaba’s We Do This ‘Til We Free Us]. And as for my ADD thoughts about where to put my efforts, I found this Twitter thread immensely helpful:
The gist is: keep on doing what you’re doing PLUS be intentional about strengthening ties with other organizations/efforts to create more collaboration. Build on what you’re already doing.
Personally, my current plan is to continue revising my middle grade novel that’s a friendship story set against a backdrop of PIC abolition and restorative justice. Doing that work helps me avoid despair. Creativity has always brought me peace and balance, so add a pinch of radicalism in the content plus weave in some of what I’m continuing to learn, and I’m (currently) feeling solid re my focus in this one wild and precious life.
Please, reach out if you think your efforts/interests might align so that together we can build something bigger and stronger. ☀️
I took this photo on April 1, 2020, but the image feels appropriate for today. This afternoon I had a productive phone conversation with an elected official about pending legislation that would greatly reduce jail populations in Colorado. I’m feeling hopeful.
Bulbs planted by neighbor who now lives in Hawaii and undoubtedly remembers exactly what this is.
And what’s more hopeful than brave flowers pushing through the soil, year after year?
I took this photo last March, at the beginning of the quarantine.
Western/Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, March 20, 2020.
Little did I know what was in store for everyone. I’m quite sure I stood at the window that day, focusing on the scrub jays and bushtits visiting the feeders, knowing the best and healthiest path forward was to seek out beauty and moments of quiet joy.
I hope this scrub jay is still alive and well. I hope the forecast for snow this weekend comes true (because Colorado needs moisture). And I hope I never stop seeing the beauty around me.
Today I’m thankful for the passion and energy of the young people in the Sunrise Movement. Last night, largely due to Sunrise’s heroic efforts, CNN held a 7-hour, in-depth conversation about the climate crisis and what needs to be done in order to avert the worst of it. Seven hours, people!
I tried to remember that today as I researched my work-for-hire bird project. Because, while I was thrilled to be eyeballs-deep in bird information, I was also disheartened over and over again to discover that many of those amazing, new-to-me birds’ existences are threatened due to human actions. Our species has made so many mistakes and we continue to make them with blatant disregard for the planet.
BUT. Last night was proof it’s possible to shift the conversation and for that, I am exceedingly grateful. All hail the Sunrise Movement!
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!
Hope is a waking dream.
Writing a novel isn’t like building a brick wall.
You don’t figure out how to do it, and then it gets easier
each time because you know what you’re doing.
With writing a novel, you have to figure it out each time.
Each time you start over, you just have the language and the idea and the hope.
~ Kate DiCamillo
Earth is a flower and it’s pollinating.
~ Neil Young
We did a whole lot today: Climate March + MOCO Museum for Banksy/Dali exhibits + Climate March again + FOAM Museum for William Eggleston’s LOS ALAMOS exhibit plus additional photography exhibits, and then dinner out at SNCKBR. (And yeah, I’m totally cognizant of the fact that there are a whole lotta acronyms in the preceding sentence.)
It’s been a good day here in Amsterdam. So good, in fact, that I’m having trouble picking just one image to represent the experience. (To add more pics would result in a marathon blog post, and I don’t have the bandwidth for that right now.) So I’m going to leave it at this quote that was painted on the wall at the Banksy exhibit:
Actually, this is THE perfect sentiment for the day. You know why? The “art” wasn’t just in those museums. It was also on display in Museumplein where all those people gathered to voice their concern/outrage/hopes/etc regarding the climate change affecting the planet.
We’re a creative species, and it’s gonna take a whole lotta outrage + art + action to get us out of this mess. It’s a daunting endeavor. But today, between the civic action outside the museums and the creativity exhibited inside, I truly believe that is possible.
Art is essential to our survival.
It is true that we are weak and sick and ugly and quarrelsome
but if that is all we ever were,
we would millenniums ago have disappeared from the face of the earth.
~ John Steinbeck
image from morguefile.com
Marched this morning with a couple hundred thousand other people. The day started out cold and overcast (really appreciated the ride downtown on the packed-to-the-gills light rail because all that body heat warmed me up again) before turning sunny and warmer. It was a good morning, and I’m glad my neighbor friend, Kim, invited me to march with her. I brought my camera and captured some of the wit and wisdom of the very large gathering. (Click to enlarge)
In case you missed it the first time.
“They tried to bury us. They did not know that we were seeds.” (h/t and thanks to Jenn Hubbard for translation)
Construction workers above the march.
And here’s me with my sign:
Finally, here’s an overhead shot of Civic Center Park in Denver:
DENVER, CO – January 21: Tens of thousands in Civic Center Park for the Women’s March on Denver January 21, 2017. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)
Kim and I left the march before it reached the park so you won’t be able to find us in this crowd. Turning around was a good call, though, because as we “swam” downstream, we got a good look at THE MANY MANY PEOPLE. It was life-affirming to read the signs screaming with anger, hope, and humor.
We’re gonna need all three to make it out alive.
I’ve been feeling down lately about the present and future of this country. The damage done in the past seven years will take many, many years to undo and we need strong, brave leaders who understand that desperate times require bold solutions. I believe Edwards is the best candidate to get this country back on track but his populist, progressive message is a threat to our corporate media and the DLC which are doing their best to marginalize him. I don’t believe Edwards can get the nomination and I’ll just say that I’m less than thrilled with the two other leading candidates.
So why am I feeling hope?
Hope Reason Number One: I found out tonight that a woman and writer I very much admire is going to run for public office. You gotta love that kind of grassroots spunk and determination!
Hope Reason Number Two: Last Friday night when I was at the caucus training for the upcoming Colorado caucuses (Feb 5) our party secretary told us that in 2004, a total of 2100 people in our county participated in caucuses but that as of Friday, the party phone line had already received 2700 inquiries about caucus locations! More people are getting involved which means more ideas and more passion and maybe, just maybe, more progressive solutions to the many problems!
Hope Reason Number Three: Tonight I helped with the weekly spaghetti dinner for the homeless and working poor. And guess what? Folks were talking about caucusing! In 2004 I registered many of those people to vote, some for the first time in a long time and some for the first time ever, but I didn’t really push to get them to caucuses because the interest didn’t seem to be there. But now they want to be involved right from the start which means more people involved which means more ideas and more passion and, well, you know.
Have you ever noticed how Hope makes you feel just a tiny bit lighter?