Ever since I ran on the trails Saturday, looking in vain for blooming thistles amongst all the brown and mostly-dead foliage, I keep thinking back to the thistles’ prickly displays in June. So, today I’m posting one from that beautiful day when the open space was ablaze with colors.
June 24, 2021
Yesterday evening, I met outdoors with Sunrise Movement friends whom I hadn’t seen since an action last summer outside (now Senator) Hickenlooper’s house. It was both lovely and bittersweet because another friend who was supposed to also be there had to remain in Minnesota to wait for her friend to get out of jail after being arrested (along with ~69 others) for protesting the Line 3 pipeline. We had all sorts of emotions around that because the friend who was supposed to join us AND her arrested friend had been jailed in Denver with us in January 2020 (shout-out to M for continuing to be so fierce!)
Rather than go the conventional route and post people pics from our gathering, I’ll share not-great photos of the Great Horned Owl that serenaded us as we sat in the middle of an elementary school field. (I know how that sounds, but it was actually a pretty good setting, right up until the sprinklers came on and sprayed me and my stuff.)
Not sure whether the white patch in the photo above is a mouse dangling from the owl’s beak or just part of the groovy blurring effects.
And so I don’t leave on a carnivorous note, here’s one more random image for Monday Mishmash of the dandelion puffball Zippy brought inside for me today.
Wishing everyone a good week . . .
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.
Yesterday was spent on the couch reading a book because I couldn’t muster energy to do anything else after the latest mass shooting that took place in Boulder. I am heartbroken and outraged that ten people were murdered and grateful my Boulder friends are safe (although deeply traumatized). One of those friends (from the Sunrise Movement) and I had a video call today. We haven’t had an extensive conversation since last June when he hosted a socially-distanced art build. I still remember the rush of emotions I felt that day when he answered my knock at his door. It was so good seeing his kind face again (through the blur of my tears).
Carl, unmasked. June 7, 2020
When his face appeared via video today, I felt similar feelings. We talked and talked and caught up. He shared his ideas for a new direction he’s considering taking. But it wasn’t until WAY into the call that I clarified he’d already taken steps toward that new direction. As he described the place and position he’d applied for, I got really excited for him because it sounded like the perfect fit. Then, just moments after I said as much, he let out a gasp.
“I’ve gotten an email from them.”
“Open it open it open it!”
They want to interview with him next week!
I’m sharing this here because these days so much feels ugly and difficult and cruel. But not this. Reconnecting with my young friend was wonderful. Witnessing him getting very good news was phenomenal. I’ve been smiling all day.
On our way up the street for a hike in the open space (our much-needed break from the coup attempt by the
terrorists** white nationalist fascists), I was disappointed but not at all surprised to see this sign still prominently displayed in front of a house:
In case you missed it, this sign loudly proclaims POLICE PROTECT US and
VIOLENCE IS NOT THE ANSWER.
I can’t help think about how Standing Rock protestors fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline were hit with water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets during the Obama administration.
Or how over the past year of historic protests and marches for Black Lives, militarized police forces around the country brutalized protestors.
Or how almost exactly one year ago, 37 climate activists and I were arrested and jailed for singing a song outside the Colorado chamber as Governor Polis (Democrat) gave his State of the State address. We later learned from a former CO state legislator about an incident in which a spectator yelled a death threat during a legislative session. That person (a white male) was merely escorted from the building. No handcuffs. No fine or charges. No jail time.
What’s happening today as the entire world watches? Cops are taking selfies with the
terrorists** white nationalist fascists who broke into the capitol.
This isn’t a shock. An armed militia entered the Michigan capitol in April 2020 , legislators in session wearing bullet proof vests, and nothing was done about it. Violence has not only been tolerated, but encouraged, throughout our nation’s history. This country was built on genocide and white supremacy, and only certain kinds of dissent are allowed. The police only protect a certain demographic.
Same as it ever was.
** edited to replace my use of “terrorist” after reading this tweet:
absolutely not my intent to amp up the “war on terror” with added policing, surveillance, etc. that would target other groups
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.
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.
It’s hard getting out of bed these days. I eventually got myself upright and after my morning ablutions, I reached for my hoop. For twenty minutes, I hoop-danced in front of my living room window. My mood lifted and I felt more energized. As I danced to the music, my eyes kept going to the purple coneflowers in the front garden bed and I told myself I’d photograph them when the dance session ended.
Purple Coneflowers. July 16, 2020.
Today I am grateful for these flowers, for my hoop, for music, and for my climate activist friend who’s currently reading my middle grade novel to make sure I didn’t misrepresent anything. Also? I’m glad I got out of bed.
Today I’m (again) exceedingly grateful for Sunrise Movement. These young people are fighting with moral clarity, passion, and a fierce determination. They endorsed Green New Deal candidates across the country and played a key role in Jamaal Bowman’s victory in New York on Tuesday and what is looking like a victory for Charles Booker in Kentucky. Incredible!
And next up is Colorado’s U.S. Senate primary on June 30th. Sunrise endorsed Andrew Romanoff and I can tell you Sunrise Colorado is on overdrive. Phonebanking, flyering, etc. On Monday, we were in front of Hickenlooper’s house and the crew got me so fired up that I shouted myself hoarse and clapped a big ol’ purple bruise in my palm.
Here are some of my Sunrise cohorts in the streets. June 2020.
The tides are turning and the young aren’t going to settle for entrenched, corporate politicians. Change is coming! So, so grateful for Sunrise Movement! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and I felt an array of not-so-pleasant emotions. Rage was high on the list. I’m doing a little better today, in part because I’m focusing more on what keeps me going during hard times.
Open space. April 1, 2020
Today I’m grateful for the many ways nature soothes my soul.
Arizona, July 1972 (National Archives)
From the depth of need and despair, people can work together, can organize themselves to solve their own problems and fill their own needs with dignity and strength.
~ Cesar Chavez
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.
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’m pretty consistent about posting here, not because I have a following that waits with bated breath, but because this blog is like a record of my life. The documentation helps me keep my memories in order.
Western/Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay. December 8, 2017
I didn’t post the past two days and it wasn’t because I turned my back on this ongoing life project. But as a result of not posting, I feel a bit anxious about those holes in my “official record.” I’ll do a quick update.
Friday, December 6, was another Global Climate Strike. I rode the light rail into Denver and then met my fellow Sunrise Movement (Colorado) activists at 10:30. We marched to the capitol, chanting and singing songs. There were maybe five hundred people total? The rally was inspiring and informative, and I loved hearing perspectives from a diverse range of young voices.
Afterward, our Sunrise group went to Governor Polis’s office to deliver climate action demands and request a meeting. Earlier efforts have been ignored. So this time we stuck around for a while. Three hours of a sit-in that included more storytelling, chanting, and songs. We left his office peacefully at the end of the day, walking and singing out to the rotunda where we slowly collapsed to a die-in. As we lowered ourselves in silence, we covered our faces with black bandanas that said either TIME’S UP or WHAT’S YOUR PLAN?
It was my first die-in and I loved it. It was a meditative and profound experience to lie on that cold marble, motionless as capitol activity continued around us.
And Saturday? I spent much of the day reading Running With Sherman: The Donkey With the Heart of a Hero (Christopher McDougall). The book inspired me to run that afternoon for the first time in two weeks. (Note: Denver metro air quality is frequently too unhealthy for running. See “Friday.”)
I’m back at my regularly scheduled life today, taking care of things that need doing. Answering emails. Worm bin maintenance and feeding. Adding words to my work-in-progress. Posting on this blog. Wishing everyone a good Sunday and much good stuff in the coming week.
Great Egret. May 5, 2019. Clearwater, FL
Last night I met with the young leaders of the Sunrise Movement in Colorado, and heard some tough news. As I listened, I slouched lower and then lower in my chair. At the same time, I noticed the young woman across from me sitting straighter, back erect and strong. It was as if I was a cautionary tale. The lower I went, the higher she sat. No caving in for her. It was a beautiful sight.
I’d like to be more mindful of sitting and standing tall, no matter the situation.
A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind. ~ Morihei Ueshiba
I spent Saturday and Sunday with about 35 passionate young people dedicated to fighting for a Green New Deal. Our local hub of the Sunrise Movement (Sunrise Colorado) held a training retreat in which national organizers shared strategies to help us in this fight. It was an amazing weekend and I felt SO. MANY. EMOTIONS.
I cried at the beginning when we all shared who and what we were fighting for, and I cried at the closing when we sang together. But I also laughed a ton, learned much, and felt lots of hope for the future.
The Sunrise Movement has already gained much more traction on the climate crisis than I’ve seen in my lifetime. PLEASE consider donating a few dollars to my hub to help us continue this vital work. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/sunriseco
Or if you’d prefer donating to the national movement, you can do so here: https://www.sunrisemovement.org/
Thank you in advance.
Strikes are taking place all around the planet. Please go HERE to find a strike near you in the United States. Let the young people know you care and are willing to join their fight for a livable future.
I’m off to a Bernie Sanders rally in Denver along with another Sunrise Movement friend where we’ll talk to people about Sunrise and a Green New Deal, hand out these flyers for the upcoming Climate Strike, AND listen to Bernie’s plans for taking back this country!
Let’s do it!
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!
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?
Last night the Boulder/Denver hub of the Sunrise Movement held a town hall meeting on the Green New Deal. It was organized by the two young leaders who worked their tails off to put it together. I’m the group’s token Baby Boomer (my words, not theirs) and was proud to assist Michele Weindling and Nick Tuta as I could. We had over 100 people show up on Memorial Day, many of them young people who care so deeply about the climate crisis they dedicated their last evening of the long weekend to activism. Impressive and humbling.
As I listened to the speeches from young activists and watched the Green New Deal presentation that included the many, many challenges facing young people today (decision to not have children due to climate crisis, crushing student debt, stagnant wages and tight job field, etc.) I teared up. And when those same speakers declared their resolve and refusal to back down from their demands for real action on the climate crisis and environmental equality/justice, I wept some more.
These young people aren’t going to take No for an answer and politicians best wise up. They either need to Step Up or Step Aside. We need a Green New Deal.
Forgot my camera so have just this one blurry shot of me in my Green New Deal bandana. We had a table for people to make one for themselves, their kids, or dogs.
Please support the young people in their efforts for a sustainable future and contact your representatives to demand they co-sponsor this aspirational resolution. Thank you in advance!
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
I’m getting ready to head out to one of my senator’s offices to urge his support for a Green New Deal. I had a conversation with one of his D.C. staffers yesterday when I called (again) to ask that he co-sponsor the Green New Deal. I was told Senator Bennet doesn’t support it because he wants legislation that’s bi-partisan so that whatever is passed won’t be subject to political winds depending on who is in power.
Classic establishment Dem thinking. Water down the policy in hopes the soulless ghouls across the aisle will approve. This senator also thinks he might run for president. *insert hysterical laughter* If Senator Bennet thinks he’ll get anywhere without the support of the young people out there fighting for their futures, he’s incredibly out of touch. Which is what I told that staffer.
Here are my signs for this afternoon’s meeting:
I don’t have high hopes for Senator Bennet who voted to approve the Keystone Pipeline and said at the time he thought Keystone should be part of a bigger solution to climate change. (?!) BUT, I can’t not make the effort when so much is at stake.
Please, even if you’ve already done so, put in calls today to your two senators and one representative to ask them to co-sponsor the resolution for a Green New Deal. We’ve gotta go bold before it’s too late.