Archive for strength

Notes for Reversing the Apocalypse: Katharine Hayhoe, Years of Living Dangerously and Afaa Michael Weaver

Posted in Climate Activism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2016 by ndemske

The last seven days have been…..very difficult.  That is an admittedly weak articulation of the reality, but it’s the sort of situation where it leaves one a little speechless.  Or it’s left me a little speechless.  Until now, maybe.

Now more than ever, strength is needed.  We create strength, sometimes, by deciding to be strong.  I am trying every day when I wake up to decide that I am strong.

Now more than ever, also–in a time where easily-disprovable lies are being rewarded…. and, I would say, worshiped–truth is needed.  That means spreaders of truth is needed.  Those willing to share the truth are needed.  We must not be greedy and complicit and comfortable in the truth, if we truly believe we’re privileged enough to be privy to it.  That is a privilege and it comes with a responsibility.  So every day when I wake up now, I am also asking myself “What am I doing to share what I believe to be true with others?  How am I sharing the truth today?” (a question that my friend Jenetta kind of asked me the other day that struck me like a bolt of lightning, for whatever reason).

These truths that I’m writing about–they’re not specific to any one topic.  From quantum entanglement to voter suppression to prison over-population and disparities in sentencing to the miraculous effects of mindfulness training or sitting meditation to the hidden histories of oppressive systems and designs in our cultures, the radical words of what Jesus actually said in the gospels versus who Jesus is represented as now by the church, the truth of the hidden science and history of racism and sexism and other modes of oppression in America which are still rampant today (which also have a great deal to do with institutions of religion).  All of truth

So here’s one place to start: the whole entire world.

President-elect Donald Trump has publicly described global warming as a hoax invented by the Chinese.  He is not by any means alone in his thoughts on climate and environment in this country–not at all.  So that is the truth as many people experience it here in this country somewhat ironically known as the United States of America.  However, there are many who experience this issue with a dramatically different reality.

Here is something a hero and poetry elder of mine (and of many), Afaa Michael Weaver, posted on Facebook the day after the election took place:

“Certain facts wait for all of us to face, no matter who controls the government. The northern ice cap is melting, and the southern cap is no better. Our petty squabbles over differences such as race will be the foolish music of a ship in a world full of chaos and hunger. Our economic system will not save us from the pressure it has put on the ecosystem. We will have to dig deep not for material wealth but for the wealth of compassion and honest embracing of realities. Now more so than ever, the lifting of a single finger by any of us affects the realities of all of us. Be haughty in spirit if you like. The planet will live, but its will to live will force it to do things few of us can survive. If we fail to understand love right now, we will leave an impoverished spirit for our children and the unborn to struggle with in a world of shrinking resources. An impoverished spirit is not a pretty thing for a national culture.”

Afaa is often considered one of the most influential living poets writing in the English language and his enormous skill with words is only matched by his capacity for compassion.

This is one version of the truth now.  A truth where the body of the planet, like our own bodies, is under assault by what we might think of as a disease.  And, like our own bodies, the planet will do what it has to do to wipe that disease out of itself, if the symptoms do not start rapidly decreasing soon.

Here is something else another hero of mine has put together expressing a similar truth.  Katharine Hayhoe, an Evangelical Christian Climate Scientist living in Texas, has begun a video series called Global Weirding.  Katharine is not only a brilliant climate scientist, but she is one of the most brilliant climate communicators I know of, too.  So check out the promo video below; it’s exactly 1 minute long.  There are only 4 episodes total now, and they’re each only around 5 minutes long.  So enjoy:

Lastly, one more expression of this version of truth around climate: the Showtime series “Years of Living Dangerously.”   You can watch the first episode of last season (Season 1) below.  The series features lots of Hollywood stars, including Don Cheadle and Harrison Ford, in this episode:

As luck would have it, my previously mentioned hero Katharine Hayhoe appears in this episode, as well.  She’s kind of a big deal.

There you go.  You have some tools for educating yourself today about those who are asserting Climate Change is impending and real.  Do with them what you will.

However, if you’re already educated on this and you’re wondering “What’s next…..how can I help?” I could give a million suggestions, but I’m only going to offer one here: join the group Citizen’s Climate Lobby.  If you’re near me geographically, you can join the Kenosha/Racine chapter which I am a part of (here’s our Facebook group page).  If you’re not, odds are we’ve already got a chapter near you.  The group is 40thou+ people globally and we’ve only existed for 9 years.

Have more money than time?  Give money to CCL.  They actually have a great fund-matching program coming up that you can read about at that link–an kind of enormous fund-matching opportunity that goes until Giving Tuesday (the Tues after Thanksgiving).  In fact, if you want to give money that would help enable CCL volunteers in SE Wisconsin lobby Congress around putting a price on carbon, feel free to be in touch with me and I will help point you in the right direction for that to happen, too.

Here’s what counts today: you and I alone separately don’t matter much and can’t change much–at least not in terms of systemic climate change solutions.  But you and I and all the other people we stand with–we can change everything.  And one thing we can change today is what we as individuals are doing to ensure Climate Change is reversed as soon as *humanly* possible.  So join us in that work however you’re able.  And please, feel free to be in touch with any of your thoughts on all this.

I love you.  Don’t forget that you are ridiculously strong today.