The Era of Cheap Living is Over

Thanksgiving food prices will be higher this year due to supply chain issues, limited trucking, limited labor, and higher costs to food producers.  Thanksgiving could be seen as a symbol of the American life style, our tendency to over-consume an abundance of cheap goods.  We’ve lived this way for decades, but if we are going to address climate change it’s time for us to recognize that the era of plentiful, cheap goods is over.   We will pay more for everything. Continue reading “The Era of Cheap Living is Over”

Winter’s discontent

“Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that low’r’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.”
Shakespeare, Richard III

This may become the winter of our discontent as people around the world face a widening energy crisis, rationing because supplies are limited due to delivery shortages, production limits, cost, or by government mandate.  Continue reading “Winter’s discontent”

What the IPCC report should have told us

The problem with the recent IPCC report is that it is still talking about ‘average’ changes over the earth, discussing what might happen decades from now as a result of increased rate of change. Even if the message is labeled “code red” or urgent, it is still understating what is already happening. We continue to flog a dead horse; the ‘dead horse’ being the fact that scientists are still trying to convince people that climate change is happening and our situation is getting worse.  People should already accept that this is true.  It isn’t the average changes that will happen over the rest of this century that are threatening us.  The earth’s climate has already destabilized to the point where abrupt, extreme weather events are already happening. It isn’t my poor diet that will kill me, it’s the heart attack. Continue reading “What the IPCC report should have told us”

Healing the Hearts and Minds of America

The Vatican has announced Pope Francis’s new encyclical, Fratelli tutti – dedicated to “fraternity” and “social friendship”.

“We live in a time marked by war, poverty, migration, climate change, economic crises, and pandemic.  Recognizing a brother or sister in everyone we meet…reminds us that no one can ever emerge from the present hardships alone, one against the other, the global North against the global South, the rich against the poor or any other excluding differentiation.” 

These words resonated with me as our nation faces the outcome of one of the most difficult and consequential presidential elections in our history.  Continue reading “Healing the Hearts and Minds of America”

Climate hell is here. We cannot afford to ignore it.

As I read a recent headline in The Atlantic “The US is on the Path to Destruction” I realized once again that climate change is truly an existential threat.

Climate change is killing Americans and destroying the country’s physical infrastructure. The federal government spends roughly $700 billion a year on the military.  It spends perhaps $15 billion a year trying to understand and stop climate change.   I thought about those numbers a lot last week, as I tried to stop my toddler from playing in ash, tried to calm down my dogs as they paced and panted in mid-morning dusk light, tried to figure out whether my air purifier was actually protecting my lungs, tried to understand why the sky was pumpkin-colored, and tried not to think about the carcinogen risk of breathing in wildfire smoke, week after week.  The government has committed to defending us and our allies against foreign enemies.  Yet when it comes to the single biggest existential threat we collectively face—the one that threatens to make much of the planet uninhabitable, starve millions, and incite violent conflicts around the world—it has chosen to do near-nothing.  Worse than that, the federal government continues to subsidize and promote fossil fuels, and with them the destruction of our planetary home.  Climate hell is here.  We cannot stand it.  And we cannot afford it either. Continue reading “Climate hell is here. We cannot afford to ignore it.”

Inequality, Poverty, and Injustice; a problem of too much and not enough.

The above image:  “Depicting a topic as expansive as inequality in a single frame is a challenge, especially since unequal experiences are often lived adjacently, but separately. Photographer Johnny Miller has successfully achieved a method of visualizing inequality—by using a drone to spotlight from above how rich and poor can inhabit spaces that are right next to each other, but so different.” Continue reading “Inequality, Poverty, and Injustice; a problem of too much and not enough.”