Back to the Land

July 2, 2020

Pandemic Sojourn in the Country

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Linda @ 1:55 am

May 24, 2020 Saturday

Memorial Day weekend

I think of bluebells, bluebells with such radiant purple and pink tinged blue that they seem to glow from within.

That’s the positive thought I hold against the weight of the burdens of taking care of my family on the farm and myself during this pandemic. I allowed the weight of it for a moment this morning, and felt my eyes tearing up.

It’s been two months since I drove to Indiana from Washington, D.C. at the end of March. At the urging of the writer friend who got me into the Johns Hopkins program, Sue Eisenfeld, and my co-worker, Kathy Symons. I have started to do this “diary” of my time on the farm. That has helped relieve the despair about not writing somewhat. But this is not the book.

Yesterday was a bad day taking Uncle Gene out to the back 40 [acres] supposedly to see the ginseng patch. He had said he couldn’t walk it, and I’d have to take him out in the tractor. It took 45 minutes to get the wagon hooked up to the John Deere and Uncle Gene inside. In the unexpected heat of the day, Uncle Gene got incoherent from heat exhaustion before he had me turn around and come back without seeing anything. We did scare up a wild turkey in the woods along the creek. I almost got stuck in mud in the field, even though I’d gone a long ways around an obvious ditch. We stopped once at the only creek crossing for him to tell me to keep going. We stopped at the end of the fields for him to tell me to turn around and go back. He wasn’t able to say the word “turn-around” and the guttural noises he made trying were chilling. We stopped once more for him to cool off in the shade of a tree. And since noon yesterday, I haven’t gotten anything coherent out of him, like what about that trip was worth risking his life? I asked him, “Did you see what you wanted to see?” And he said, “Yes, you said you wanted to see the back 40.”

There, hopefully with a little more grace, there, with the grace of the goddess, go I one day.

I made dinner last night—scrambled eggs with mustard, onion, garlic, and spinach; fruit salad to clean up the strawberries; and the last of our lovely, fresh asparagus; with apple slices. I had a little help from my younger sister Karen and too much help from mom. Mom is good about thanking people for the effort though. It is what she wants for the hard work she does.

I work hard, too. But the tension between the real, physical world and my creative, imaginative world is unbearable. I am in despair for the dream I had of coming here and working on the book—the perfect place to get away from it all with Janice’s papers here. That intention is in direct contrast to the job I appointed myself to do to protect the elders, a job that gets regularly undermined—by Karen, my youngest sister, who considers this her turf; the independence of my parents, which is their strength as well but sometimes makes coordination hard; and the pride that can make accepting help very hard on the person trying to help.

I’ve been knocking myself out trying to be everything to everyone, trying to get some tip of the iceberg things done in a sea of need. I’ve worn myself out taking my city energy and city efficiency and throwing it up against a brick wall.

My sojourn in the country is stressed and tense from pushing too hard against the slow movement here, trying to get it to go, trying to get things done. It’s not only “country time,” but the pace of my 90+-year-old parents, which I don’t have sufficient patience for. Tasks won’t always get done for me pushing (well, sometimes). They mostly get done at their own pace. And it’s better that way. Natural pace for the environment. Pace at which my parents are able to stay balanced in their own ways; and the control that is survival to them and necessary for them to maintain. I understand all this. But it’s hard not to step on toes—everyone’s, and we end up annoyed with each other—except for our yeucre card games after dinner, which generally breaks through all that. It is a happy time for joking and laughing with each other. Thank the goddess for that! I have to slow myself down to a more centered place and watch some things go by without interfering. Settling in to the rhythms. But I can understand where city folk say the country drives them crazy.

20200502_174956

There have been some lovely family moments, though—making rhubarb pie from the garden with Mom and working on fixing the Allis-Chalmers tractor with Dad. I recognize the preciousness of this time with my aging parents. Stunning, really, that I can still have this time, that they’re doing so well.

 

Karen and I are doing the grocery shopping wearing masks we made. I have the household down to once every week or 10 days. Mom is sympathetic with taking precautions. The family was taking temperatures every day when I arrived. We are still giving non-perishable groceries time out on the porch before unpacking, and Mom makes Dad wash his hands after handling the bags. But we’re relaxing that as some studies imply transmission by surfaces is rare. We’ve definitely stopped wiping everything down as it came in. We never went as far as worrying about the mail. But the safety of the group is only as good as the weakest link. The family was upset when Uncle Gene went in to get his hair cut (plus two other errands) last Monday when Indiana first opened up. Dad said he thought that would be the most dangerous place to go. I’ve never seen his hair so long.

I am in despair about the writing. There is a distance between me and that writing. The physical demands, distractions, tension, and anxiety of the physical world separate me from that quiet, calm time that produces the deep writing that the book requires. This surface writing—writing down the impressions and descriptions of the day—is a different kind of writing, a raw capture that would have to be developed into writing to do anything with it. But still, it’s writing and it’s every day. That makes me a writer again to a limited extent.

Trying to process all the COVID news/data/information that I am bombarded with here (with the television on all the time: I have to barricade myself from it) seems to take up a lot of my brain power. It is emotionally exhausting—these power struggles, political wars, and death. Just a note: Yes, you have civil rights. Yes, there is the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights includes Freedom of Speech, something we protect with might. But all rights have limitations and responsibilities. Calling “fire” in a crowd is free speech that is not protected. You have the right of assembly, but not during a pandemic. Public health and safety can be a limitation on those rights. Most people understand this. This is civics 101, how to be a good citizen of your society. How come no one is talking about it in those terms?

And trying to stay calm confronting things like my mom losing half her ear with basal cell surgery and Dad’s edema purpling his feet with broken veins and opening sores on his legs takes its toll. I lose it plenty, though, emotionally. Generally comes out as anger.

I can keep myself busy, but I feel the weight as the world I know crumbles. There’s plenty to hang on to in my world—my family (after all these years) is strong, the farm, my work at NASA (slowed down but not gone by any means), and friends. But a lot is going away or transforming—many big unknowns.

I keep thinking of that quote about being in a dance with the danger that confronts you. Bringing a spirit of play and curiosity to the pandemic is actually helpful, but difficult to sustain. There are opportunities here for positive change (and I’m not talking about opportunities to take advantage of the vulnerable like big companies taking over vulnerable little companies). I’m talking about creating the new. But that is not (yet) something I’ve been engaged in. Maybe at my alma mater. Maybe in the Writing Program at Johns Hopkins.

Two months ago seems a world away at this point. And so here we are, Memorial Day 2020. And all I can think about is the memory of all the people who have died a horrible death from the virus so far. Memorialize them. Take a moment to write it down and memorialize this moment in this strange time out of time.

November 7, 2015

Fall Has Flown

Filed under: Back to the Land — by Linda @ 10:18 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Despite a last dash of spring-like wet, 80-degree weather, the leaves continue to abandon the trees, leaving forlorn bare branches reaching to the sky. The wheel turns. Fall is flying, and the Sun is going about its rounds inexorably.

Fall is denuding the trees.

Fall is denuding the trees.


The tiny dark leaves on the holly-like bush with the delicate white flowers and their heavy sweet scent have laden the air with their own particular musk. Fall smells fecund–heavy wet scents of rich, ripe harvest; sweet scents with rotting; leaf mold with fresh rain. Fall brings an ambiguous cornucopia of messages.

I anticipate the wheel’s turn to the sharp-edged ice crystals shining through winter, the stillness of death in its season.

October 31, 2015

Fall comes to the City

Filed under: Back to the Land — by Linda @ 5:50 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It astonishes me that even in the city, the seasons hold sway. It is Halloween night.

Decorative bat imitating nature.

Decorative bat imitating nature.

Skeletons, witches, bats, and ghosts sway in the night along with dancing sassafras leaves of orange and gold and next to nature’s own black winged creatures swooping amongst the trees.

Even as isolated from nature as I am in the city–I don’t see the stars, I walk on concrete or blacktop–nature still touches with fire the fence on my corner, a flaming red Virginia creeper climbing up the metal lattice. The maples at the bottom of the hill have long since gone up in flame. Their four momentary torches of burnt red and amber are going from ember to white ashes. Bright orange bittersweet berries overhang the greenery on our fence.

It’s not just that nature manages to keep a toehold here in the city, it’s that even here in the city nature has an exuberance that–even between the canyons of skyscrapers–can surprise and delight. It’s wildness does encroach in strange ways. I swear I have seen an adolescent coyote cross the street. And let me tell you that is a strange sight–not just because of the strangeness of seeing a wild creature in the city but for the strangeness of the creature itself. I couldn’t identify it at first with ears long in relation to its body like a jackrabbit’s and hind legs so long and out of proportion they looked like the hind end of a kangaroo! But naturalists have confirmed we have coyotes in Arlington. We do have, in the neighborhood, our raccoon that lives in the drainage underground and our occasionally-spotted fox. These creatures are strange to see in the city and a little discomforting walking down the middle of the street. But that is not what I am talking about. It is not the somewhat misfitted toehold, but the life nature has of itself.

Surprise had me searching the trees for the guilty parent of the furry hatted acorns that littered the sidewalk in front of my bank, belonging to no oak that I knew of. When I looked up, I realized it was not acorn but some form of chestnut. Searching for the seed and leaf at home, I would say it was, perhaps, a variety of sweet chestnut, but I can’t find the specific match. Let me know if you know these unidentified children.

Can you identify these nature artifacts?

Can you identify these nature artifacts?

Yes, I hear you that those trees were planted by man, but nature assembled those zany shaggy-bark hatted nuts and scattered them into the careful beds of petunias for a little wildness.

And the seeds that actually are acorns have gone wild in profusion this fall. I have nearly skated down the mildest of slopes covered with tiny rolling pinstriped acorns. This fall–how did I miss them before?–I’ve become familiar with huge, round acorns that look more the part of the seeds of the mighty oak. But when they hit the ground with a loud, resonant sound, it is not a thunk or a thud, but more like the sound made by a hollow ping pong ball. They’re light and airy! This profusion of oak seeds literally covering the ground over city blocks is out of place. No one wants any of these seeds to sprout into tiny oaks. There is no place, no room for the random growth of a hardwood forest. Not in the city.

I didn’t see the supermoon except at a glance, but even I picked up the scent of fall on the wind. The darkening days vibrate a base in my spine, a note, an inkling of the change of season. The colder winds blow a warning to prepare for wintry blasts. Winter is coming. There is an urgency to harvest and store amidst the scary jack-o-lanterns. Nature is moving through her cycles.

January 1, 2011

New Year’s 2011

Chicago’s private carbon credit market: it is interesting to see the beginnings of an infrastructure for trading carbon sequestration/emissions as a commodity develop. At this point the money is not much, but still, it’s incentive in the right place. The paragraphs below from the Purdue University Extension brochure (http://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/FNR/FNR-228-W.pdf ) put it pretty well, I think. As I’ve heard it explained in seminars for farmers, it’s like the tail that the dog wags rather than the tail wagging the dog. It’s a little  bit of money to help, if you’re already moving in the direction of conservation practices anyway.

It is hard to think about conserving and saving the planet in any meaningful way on such a small scale as our 140-acre family farm. But you can think about putting our piece of the puzzle together with other landowners whose waterways make up a watershed, or patching together your 10 acres of managed forest with other landowners to form an aggregate for trade, or providing a patch of habitat that might tip the balance for a stressed species. If you can put the farm in a bigger context–a bigger vision for the State of Indiana or the country–and a longer time scale–a vision for the future out beyond our generation, say 50 years, then you can start to see meaning in the mosaic (like the Kennedy bust at the Kennedy Center).

Here’s hoping 2011 is a good year for the planet!

Brochure exerpt:

The sale of carbon sequestration offset credits compliments existing conservation programs that provide financial and technical assistance for conservation plantings and sustainable land management. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), forest property tax incentive programs, and certification systems such as the American Tree Farm System, Forest Sustainability Council, or Sustainable Forestry Initiative are examples of programs that could be paired with selling carbon offset credits as part of a management strategy. 

An attractive aspect of this new market place is the opportunity for landowners who have practiced good land stewardship to be rewarded financially for their activities. Although the financial rewards at this time are not large, it is an extra revenue source that can provide an additional incentive to install and maintain these beneficial practices.

Plants capturing carbon offset carbon emissions at these rates.

Map of zones of carbon offset in the soil

October 19, 2010

Land Stewardship Organizations

It’s a good day. Last family visit (July 4th family reunion, Rockford, IL) we started the conversation about transitioning the family farm to the next generation and moving the farm into the 21st century.

What surprised me was that everyone in the family–against all logic and common sense–wanted to keep the farm in the family. Apparently, we have family values that include land use and our ownership of it that go beyond the obvious commercial value of the land.

That, of course, means we have problems to solve. Since no one in my generation of the family wants to give up the lives we have–in Orlando, Houston, and Washington, D.C.–to go live on the farm at the moment, the work and support is remote. How to make that connection/get work done meaningfully, remotely?

Here’s one way. So at the behest of my Uncle Gene, I contacted my friend Eve, who works at the Nature Conservancy, about what interest they might have in the farm and how our family might interact with that.

Today Joe Tutterrow called me back. He said the Conservancy’s primary interest is in endangered species and habitat–plants and animals. Not sure what those would be in southern Indiana. He’s going to look up the farm on a plat and see what might be interesting about it. He mentioned they were science based (preserving important habitats) and a possibility of conservation easement. That is an organization that is easy to love: http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/indiana/

Indiana--my heartland.

I mentioned our 140 acres, 30 acres of managed classified forest. (He used to belong to the forestry program in IN.) Interest in heritage plants: quince, persimmon, paw paw. Walnut grove my dad has planted. AND the riparian zone–the little creek at the bottom of our agricultural lands that might benefit from better management as a buffer zone from the agricultural run off. Also mentioned the old fire tower, and the sink hole. He said they were interested in bat habitat if the sink hole had an opening. I didn’t know of one.

He said that if it didn’t fit their interest, they were still interested in connecting us up with other Land Trust organizations that might have other interests in land stewardship.

I’m excited about getting hooked up with other communities out there that are interested in land stewardship. This could provide me with a connection with purpose that would give me a reason of my own for “going back to the farm.” I connect up with communities and organize and contribute pretty naturally. This might be something I could build for myself. AND some of it could be done remotely.

That actually makes me more excited than hooking up with farm communities–not that that wouldn’t (of course!) tie in.

In addition today, I got an email about a comment posting to my blog on global warming (not my “back to the land” blog). Because of that email, I figured out my comment approval system on my blog, and that lead me to a comment that gave me the opportunity to make my blog carbon neutral by connecting to another webpage that promotes tree planting to offset carbon (in exchange for a connection to them). What a cool idea! You can to at: http://www.stockdisplays.co.uk/carbon-neutral-blogs/index.php/plant-my-tree/ They contribute to National Forest Foundation tree planting, to mitigate the carbon used by the internet.

Now there is another organization–new to me–that is doing cool things in stewardship of public lands in America. Their mission statement: “Brimming with natural values for America’s people and communities, our 193-million-acre National Forest System gives us clean air and water, diverse wildlife habitat and abundant outdoor recreation opportunities. Today, the challenges to the future of all these values are as complex and numerous as the forest ecosystems themselves…..many factors threaten the resources we need and the wild places we cherish.

“With millions of acres in need of restoration and millions of people unaware of how National Forests enrich their lives, the NFF set forth on a campaign of restoration. We are working to restore our damaged forests and restore Americans connection to these public lands.

Our goals in this campaign are to Revitalize Our Forests and Strengthen Our Natural Connection.”

Check them out: http://www.nationalforests.org/conserve/programs/conservation

This is the best of the web–making connections around the world to foster, form, and nuture things you care about, multiplying the effect by connecting up your energy with others.

It’s a good day.

January 3, 2010

Black Hole or Roller Coaster?

I just saw a quote from Buzz Aldrin from a book about Wisdom in those over 65, and he said he thought the global changes were part of a larger cycle that is part of the Earth’s cycle and it was a little presumptuous of us to try to keep things the same. This is reminiscent of Gaia theory, which kind of says the Earth may shake us off, but will come to some equilibrium of her own.

Our faith in the concept of homeostasis, the equilibrating balancing of opposites into a stable balance is so fundamental: it seems to run through every argument about global climate change. What if that balancing force, admittedly strong, isn’t infinite?

It’s interesting, tempting, pacifying, even seductive to think things will come back to balance. However, it is difficult to ignore the effects of industrialization and the combustion economy, of the build up of “greenhouse gases” and their warming effects. That is all outside of nature in the sense of being a function of human activity. I can’t imagine trying to argue that our actions are in any way connected with nature. But then, this topic in my blog is about my feelings of fundamental disharmony from being disconnected to the land, so of course it wouldn’t make sense to me.

What seems factually real to me is the exponential growth in greenhouse gas emissions. The best description I’ve seen about what “exponential growth” means is written in The Singularity is Near, by Ray Kurzweil. “Exponential growth is deceptive. It starts out almost imperceptibly and then explodes with unexpected fury—unexpected, that is, if one does not take care to follow its trajectory.”

He was talking about technological change and the pace of human “progress” or the evolution of human intelligence in partnership with machine intelligence. (Technological change was the subject of Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock.) Kurzweil describes human technological change thusly, “The first idea is that human progress is exponential (that is, it expands by repeatedly multiplying by a constant) rather than linear (that is, expanding by repeatedly adding a constant).” The “singularity” is the “tipping point” when “human” intelligence, supplemented by computing many times more quickly than the human brain, enables humanity to transcend its biology. As he puts it, “The key idea underlying the impending Singularity is that the pace of change of our human-created technology is accelerating and its powers are expanding at an exponential pace. ”

Here’s the key point: we’re transcending biology. We live in an age of human activity that is transcending and transforming biology, the Anthropocene Age. We have left the ranch and are now out in the wilderness. Who knows what the limits and rules are when you’re talking about human imagination? The laws of physics don’t apply to Kurzweil’s Singularity, the development of artificial intelligence in computers. Maybe the biological laws of balance and coming back to statis in living organisms and ecosystems and planets don’t apply to human effects on our razor-thin atmosphere and other assaults on the natural world.

Just like Kurzweil’s Singularity, the effects of carbon emissions are exponential, not linear. I think Kurzweil’s description pretty well lays out the side effect or residue of human “progress,” too. The effects of the increase of greenhouse gases multiply as they go until they are running like wildfire. When we reach that “tipping point,” there’s no turning back. Once you reach the bend or elbow in the exponential curve, you are in for a wild ride in much the same way as hitting the curve on a roller coaster. Things take off, for better or worse. And then we’re just along for the ride and no longer in control.

It may be that changing the planet’s climate will be better for some entities. Too bad for us humans.

The Singularity is Near, Kurzweil, Ray, 2005, Viking, Penguin Group, NY: NY.

November 28, 2009

There is no Santa Claus, Virginia

Thanksgiving, 2009

That’s the insidious part. We won’t know in 10 years whether we’ve done enough to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The effects of what we do today will be felt in 30 years. That’s the estimated lag time between the emission of carbon and the effect on temperature. So scientists estimate that if we can start actually reducing (rather than reducing the increase) in levels of carbon dioxide emissions in 10 years (which most scientists don’t believe the international community will be able to accomplish), the effect 30 years later will only be about a 2-degree rise in temperature by 2050. That’s survivable. However, that’s a fairly meaningless positive statement. The meaning lies in the negative statement: if we don’t actually start reducing–not curving the increase but reducing–emissions in 10 years, the hope of the earth being able to maintain a statis that is recognizable to current life forms becomes unreasonable.

Equally insidious, of course, is that we don’t know enough to guess accurately because global climate is so complex we’re discovering effects as they fail. Human beings are almost hard wired to be able to accept known risks more easily than ambiguity. It is very difficult to act in ambiguity because every action carries the risk of being wrong or not the most effective or even harmful. [This is where intuition comes in: See Star Trek episode where Kirk is split into two personalities by the transformer and unable to command. Also see a wonderful book on the necessary balance between the rationale and instinctive knowledge in “Deep Survival,” Laurence Gonzalez, 2003.] And then the easiest thing to do is RATIONALIZE inaction. For the last 100 years, the key rationalization–even of the scientific community–has been a faith in the ability of the earth to balance and renew itself–balancing and counterbalancing effects too complicated to understand or calculate but that end up coming back to a balanced stasis. It is a comforting thought in an ambiguous world. It has the same seductive appeal as religion.

All the evidence now is indicating that the so-called greenhouse gases are causing a forcing effect that will change the balance of the earth’s systems. The insidious part about the gathering evidence is that from before 1900 up to and including 2007, even the scientific community, but especially policians, have underestimated the effects in their interpretations of the data. Their lag time seems to be even greater than that of CO2. The idea that humans could significantly alter their own climate–that the natural beauty we take for granted on our lonely, lovely planet could really be at risk–has just been too unbelieveable or horrific to accept by the society at large.

This is a fabulous article on the decades of science that have taken us to where we are now in our understanding of global warming.

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

This is a pretty clear article (snapshot 2005) on implications:

http://www.earth-policy.org/index.php?/indicators/C51/temperature_2004

This article points out that the counteracting balances that are currently giving us a short reprieve could reverse and becoming contributing factors.

http://www.earth-policy.org/index.php?/indicators/C51/temperature_2004

There’s a lot of wild guessing going on along side decades-long meticulous research. There are some things we know and alot more that we don’t. Estimates of the upcoming effect vary widely. But some effects are no longer predictions. The changes to global climate are happening in the Anthropocene age, in which human activities are the main driver of the global climate system. That much consensus has been reached in both political and scientific communities. So in that sense, the waiting to see is over.

Subject: RE: Global warming
Date: Friday, November 27, 2009

And this one has a specific prediction that we can watch to see if they really understand the problem well enough to recommend solutions:  “The scientists also calculate that the world’s emissions of heat-trapping gases must peak in less than 10 years and then dive quickly to nearly zero, if warming of more than another 2 degrees Fahrenheit above the current annual global temperature is to be prevented after 2050.
  
Any warming of more than 2 degrees F above current temperatures has been generally agreed among governments around the world to be “dangerous,” though what “dangerous” means is still debated.

 Too bad it will be 10 years before we know.


Date: Wed, 25 Nov 2009

Subject: Global warming

New report assessing current effects.
 

September 27, 2009

Remember Who you Are

Filed under: Back to the Land — by Linda @ 4:59 pm
Tags: , , ,

I forget how important connection to the land is. I’m dying here. I’m dying in many different ways on many different levels. But disconnection from the land is a particularly painful one. And yet, it is a subtle process that I don’t notice as it progresses.

We spend a lot of time in life pushing through and ignoring the small discomforts, the small inner voices that sometimes whisper about our happiness. Because we have to, because you can’t pay attention to all those little nigglings, because you have to get things done. Because there are things more important than your comfort in any particular moment.

And so I don’t notice as I turn grayer, as I keep pushing harder to stay focused, productive, on task–as my body becomes less responsive, as I become less joyful, as I close down more, close in, as I have to push harder to push myself through the days and handle my responsibilities.

And then something–a beautiful bird call in the still of a peaceful, sunny morning–reminds me….

I remember the feeling of joy–of looking up, startled, from my computer work when a thrush landed on the screen in my window and poured song into my cabin. After breathing clean, fresh air–fully–for three days, air with scents of green and flowers, my lungs relax and open up. The cells are oxygenated. My eyes are clear.

The land rejuvenates me. My senses expand and are sharper. I’m reaching to listen to the sounds in the quiet, not closing in to try to block out the screeches of brakes and steering columns, clanks of machinery, and roar of airplanes overhead. The mists and fatigues dissipate. My thinking clears. In that clear space, the thinking is different. Without the clutter, the murk, and cloudiness, there is clarity in the mind like clear, still water.

What will happen when we can’t touch into clean, clear spaces anymore?

September 23, 2009

Country Genes

Filed under: Back to the Land — by Linda @ 12:19 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Cutting up Swiss Chard for dinner tonight, I sampled a piece, and it tasted like the farm. How does the farm taste? Wholesome, down home, fresh. Green like fresh-mowed hay. Like plants and life. And I thought…

OK, the cabin was different than the farm. But–duh!–there is more about me loving the cabin that is in kinship with the farm than different. There is a lot more that is the same about the two. The interest distinguishes me from my sisters. None of them have ever had a cabin, though they’ve visited mine.

Cooking in general, in fact, reminds me of the country–where the pace of life is slower. My pace of life is VERY fast. In the country, it slows down below the norm. Different things happen at a slower pace of life. Writing happens. Cooking happens–the blending of tastes and textures, the simmering of flavors. Thoughtfulness happens at a slower pace of life.

September 22, 2009

The Age of Stupid

I just saw the U.S. premier live broadcast of The Age of Stupid looking back from a 2055 perspective on 2009 and why we didn’t act to save ourselves. It was pretty impressive:

* Anan of the U.N. spoke about how global warming will reverse the gains against poverty.

* Standing in Nepal, looking at the glaciers melting faster than any others on earth, the correspondent points out that those glaciers are the source of water for over a billion people. If they are gone in 50 years, so’s the water.

* We are acting now for what will happen 35 years into the future, which is when the effect of the emissions will be felt.

* Scientific data indicates that to keep the global temperature from increasing more than 2 degrees, we have to level off the increase in emissions by 2015 and then decrease it. If the global temperature increases by more than about 2 or 2.4 degrees, the effects could create a warming process that would be out of control. At 6 degrees, life as we know it is gone.

* The Copenhagen meeting to work an international treaty to replace Kyoto is an opportunity and a deadline to come up with international action that we can’t afford to miss. The EU has a plan on the table that would create an equal carbon footprint for all–decreasing the U.S. now, increasing Africa and India.

* Move on.org: We think our Age of Stupid ended in November 2008. We’re working to let Obama know he has millions behind him going into Copenhagen.

* Vice President Chelsea Clinton.

* We are seeing devastating effects from global warming already.

* This is the challenge for our generation: We became aware of the issue, it will be too late for the next generation to save us. It’s up to us. Will we rise to the occasion and deal with this tremendous challenge?

And I am again thinking about the farm. Let’s change the conversation from bringing the farm into the 21st century to making the farm carbon neutral – or even producing energy from the farm.

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