Friday, May 24, 2019

#GlobalClimateStrike: educating ourselves

No, I can't just walk out, not show up.  School doesn't work that way. (Although honestly I have wondered how long it would take to get any number of excellent child-related needs achieved, including climate salvation, if 3.2 million public school teachers all walked out together for a week. Hoo, mama, could we stir things up!)

But I did book a sub for a sick day, and the code I'm using is "Illness in Family" because the home of the human family is indeed ill.  I'll be heading down to the White House to stand with @JeromeFosterII for a livable future for our ailing planet, our ailing attitude.  I think my sign will say

  lead the way to the low-hanging fruit

I will not be joined by an old friend of mine and of climate action, Robin Galbraith, because she is actually a substitute teacher in my district and is working today, but I want to highlight the work she has been doing to train and become a presenter for the organization DRAWDOWN, which you can read about here.  This organization is attempting to communicate to the public hopeful ways to impact what seems like an insurmountable problem, something that those of us who some days wake up feeling defeated already can really use.  I'm looking forward to seeing Robin present soon.

Project Drawdown aims to share 100 solutions to reverse global warming.  But today even 100 seems like more than I can personally tackle, and when I look at the list, I don't even know what some of them mean.  So instead I Googled "low-hanging fruit personal climate action."

Well, would you look at that!  Here's a paper that is actually called:


"The individual and household sector generates roughly 30 to 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and is a potential source of prompt and large emissions reductions. Yet the assumption that only extensive government regulation will generate substant-ial reductions from the sector is a barrier to change, particularly in a political environment hostile to regulation. This Article demonstrates that prompt and large reductions can be achieved without relying predominantly on regulatory measures. The Article identifies seven "low-hanging fruit:" actions that have the potential to achieve large reductions at less than half the cost of the leading current federal legislation, require limited up-front government expenditures, generate net savings for the individual, and do not confront other barriers

Although in isolation any one action may appear trivial, when multiplied across part or all of the roughly 110 million households in America, each can produce enormous emissions savings. These actions are the low-hanging fruit of individual and household emissions. They demand relatively little of individuals but produce prompt, significant CO2 emissions reductions when carried out in large numbers. They have the prospect not only of reducing emissions but also of kick-starting the process of engaging the public in its role of reducing emissions."

You guys, I am shocked to discover that the seven actions listed here are NOT AT ALL what I was expecting (which is kind of the point of the paper: we don't even know what we're doing that is heating up the planet)!  Look:

  • Reduce the component of motor vehicle idling that has net costs to the driver;
  • Reduce standby power electricity use;
  • Accelerate the substitution of compact fluorescent light bulbs for incandescent bulbs;
  • Adjust temperature settings two degrees in both summer and winter;
  • Decrease household thermostat settings on water heaters;
  • Maintain the recommended tire pressure in personal motor vehicles; and
  • Change air filters in personal motor vehicles at recommended intervals.

Friends, I have personally been driving on a flat tire for a week, ignoring the warning light on my dashboard.  I thought this research was going to say something sexy like "Ban single-use plastics!" or "Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing food waste!"  (Read through that article to see one human's "personal Climate Resolution [including] reducing food waste as a low hanging fruit to reduce GHG emissions and save scarce resources.")  But no, apparently I should start by UNPLUGGING all electronics that I am not actually using to avoid midnight vampire power sucking, as much as my refrigerator uses!

So if we can all take individual actions that will make a big difference, why would I bother going downtown (by Metro, of course) to demonstrate at the #WhiteHouseClimateStrike?  Well, because it's a visible platform, and I'm a communicator, and because our government does have a leading role to play even if it's not expensive and slow regulatory fixes.  The research paper points out that "It is quite possible that a well-managed public information campaign that had a budget of $1.5 billion and that reflected the most important advances in the social and behavioral sciences would generate reductions in the low-hanging fruit sufficient to achieve the 150 million ton target."

So it is a governmental responsibility to PROMOTE the scientific evidence that we American humans and our fossil-fueled modern advances in comfortable and convenient living are going to have GIVE SOMETHING UP to preserve the planet for our children. And also, if 14-year-old girls can go sit alone with their signs on a street bench, next to a police station, in front of a state house for weeks on end to bravely plead for my adult help, then by golly I can spend a morning in front of the White House trying to give it! @kidlit4climate

And here's my wee poem, which will not fit on a demonstration sign:

Stand up, sit down, shout
Take time to teach
Raise your voice; the
Iron is hot 
Kick up a fuss
Every action counts

Every action counts, even if it's only that you put a sign (painfully ironically) in your car window today and drive around showing that "I SUPPORT THE CLIMATE STRIKE FOR OUR FUTURE."

The round-up today is with Dani Burtsfeld at Doing the Work That Matters. Yeah, let's do that! And felicitations to all who are finishing up their school years today, with thanks for that work too.

Saturday, May 18, 2019


 Image result for twitter logo

white birds flap on screen
seventeen syllables
give or take a few

I've been intermittently com-posting some haiku on Twitter, late inspired by Liz Garton Scanlon's 11-year April tradition.  Why not round them up, now that I've planned how to get peacefully and productively through all the meddlesome, tedious EOY assessments and all the emotionality that comes with the end of another year of 2nd grade?

By the way, if you haven't read this piece on that complex emotionality for teachers, please do.  If you're not a teacher, you'll learn a lot, and if you are you'll feel deeply and well represented.

For Teachers of Children in Poverty, The End of the Year Brings Mixed Emotions

So here they are:

painted lady chrysalis
leaks neon blue and scarlet
inner beauty

alone, sun on my
burger, glass of rose'
cause for poetry

    (in response to this one from @lisagerlits)
     I ought to have a dog
    to walk--for poetry's sake
    if not his or mine

the round cans wax
then wane to empty drawer
cat food calendar

fat green
molecule of miracle
first tomato

ivy gone awry
persistent oils, tangled roots
hard learned lessons ooze

hundreds of tiny
deeprooted weeds sprout each night
they will not be stopped

the flaming plane
is not "out of the blue"
we see it coming

waiting all day
for the thunder to roll
sun just carries on

I'm so late with my post this week (didn't know I was going to do one!) but even so I'm sure that our host and my friend Margaret at Reflections on the Teche won't mind my tardiness. She has pi-ku so I'll be in good company!

Friday, May 3, 2019

round-up and rest

Thanks for a great month, PF people!  I'm still struggling with a persistent and extremely frustrating inability to comment on certain Blogger blogs, including my own, so I'm going lay low this month until the worldwide tech community helps me figure it out and meanwhile get some submitting done.

#ClimateCrisis PSA:  Many climate protection organizations are calling on adults to join the students across the globe who have been striking on Fridays for the future of their planet IN A GENERAL STRIKE on Friday, May 24.  I've booked a sub and will be out demonstrating.  I love this formulation of the moment from
"Climate change, the defining challenge of our lifetime. It is, of course, not the only major, systemic issue we face and, for many, it is not the most important in day-to-day lives marked by injustice and inequality in a system that privileges the few. But it is an issue that touches nearly everyone and that permeates our systems, exacerbates inequality, and sharpens injustice.... climate change is real, it’s caused by humans, [and] there’s still time to fight it."

I enjoyed so much about our playful, narrative April this year, and I'm grateful for the commitment of all the folks listed below who contributed, including to the Progressive Poem (and of course to Irene for instigating once again), but the grand finale kudos goes to Donna Smith, who made our whole funky found poem into an actual song, ukelele accompaniment provided!  Aren't we all a multitalented bunch?

And here's the playlist of the Progressive Poem, whence the lines all came from--an eclectic mix, for sure.

Here is a list of each line's source:

L1 The Who, ‘I Can See for Miles’/The Beach Boys, ‘Endless Summer’
L2 The Beach Boys, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’/Dean Martin, ‘When You’re Smiling’
L3 The Jamies, ‘Summertime, Summertime’
L4 The Doors, Summer’s Almost Gone’/Led Zeppelin ‘Good Times, Bad Times’
L5 Ray Bradbury, “Dandelion Wine”
L6 Joni Mitchell, “Chelsea Morning”
L7 Paul Simon, “Kodachrome,” “Dazzling Blue”
L8 Dan Fogelberg, “Run for the Roses”
L9 Spice Girls, “Wannabe”/Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”
L10 The Beatles, “Good Day Sunshine”
L11 The Carpenters, “Top of the World”
L12 Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Underneath the Lovely London Sky” from Mary Poppins Returns
L13 Carole King, “Hi-de-ho (That Old Sweet Roll)”
L14 Steve Miller, “Fly Like An Eagle”
L15 Don Felder, “Wild Life”
L16 Nowleen Leeroy, “Song of the Sea” (lullaby)
L17 Sara Bareilles, “She Used to Be Mine” from WAITRESS
L18 Stevie Wonder, “Isn’t She Lovely”
L19 R.E.M., “Find the River”
L20 Carole King, “Way Over Yonder”
L21 Mint Juleps, “Groovin” by the Young Rascals
L22 Jack Johnson, “Upside Down”
L23 Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson) “Rainbow Connection” from the Muppet Movie
L24 The Foo Fighters, “Learning to Fly”
L25 Tina Turner, “The Best”
L26 The Partridge Family, “Summer Days”
L27 The Pointer Sister’s, “We Are Family”
L28 Indigo Girls, “Power of Two”
L29 David Bowie, "Let's Dance"
L30 Donna's Song

Jama's rounding us up today at her brain-candy blog Alphabet Soup.   Happy May to all!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

npm19: all of the above 29/30

One last hurrah:  yesterday I was texting someone about the new Soil Science Club and I managed to send a message about

soul science

under the sharp green blades of   lightly
hold it between your thumbs and blow

are the grains  the clods  the dusts
from whence you came  of middle earth

sand  clay  silt    layers that call for
a hole is to dig and delve

a trip into a pit  deep and deeper hold
your breath in the tunnel  the sundered

under  the dark deposits  the buried
fossils of the prehistoric self   a

way to make of the soul a practical
system of study   dispassionate measures

that leave you sweaty  streaked with
dirt under the nails   in need of a long bath