Government Shut Down

The Government shut down will happen on October 1 if nothing stops it.

If you want to read what this means for thousands of employees and for the programs funded by these important programs, I suggest you read the details. You will realize how serious this is, and to me, how shameful that our nation’s people are of less concern to many legislators than proving their point to the opposing side. They should be removed by their respective communities who elected them.

The US Department of Education issued its plans:

US Dept of ED Contingency Plans

NSF Shutdown Plans: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2013/shutdown13001/shutdown13001.pdf. 

Health and Human Services:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/documents/2011shutdown/nih.html .

Search the agency name:  agency name 2013 shutdown plans.

IPCC Report and the Deniers

Ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored in the climate system, accounting for more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010 (high confidence). It is virtually certain that the upper ocean (0−700 m) warmed from 1971 to 2010 (see Figure SPM.3), and it likely warmed between the 1870s and 1971. {3.2, Box 3.1}. Read the pdf of the policy makers summary:

WGIAR5-SPM_Approved27Sep2013

The David Suzuki Foundation published a new blog post this month addressing the anticipated release of the IPCC report (released September 26.)  It is an interesting review of the major newspapers and publications that published denier articles as well as a version of the IPCC report by a climate change denier group. There are links to articles and the alternative report.

**The IPCC report outlines the transfer of heat from the atmosphere to the ocean surface. The Ocean Conservancy is tracing another phenomenon: acidification of the ocean at the interface with the atmosphere where increased carbon dioxide reacts with water and becomes a weak acid. Over time and with increasing concentration of CO2 in the air, acidification is increasing and wreaking havoc in the Pacific Ocean.

 The New York Times Article on Release of the 5th IPCC Report.

Clarity of Voice – Terry Tempest Williams

Guernica: With theses new risks and forms of engagement, how would you describe this time in history?

Terry Tempest Williams: I think we will look back at this time in history as a time of great transition. I think about a particular bridge in the Penobscot area of Maine. When we would drive from Bucksport to Belfast, we had to cross this bridge. For years, we would cross this rickety, rusted green bridge, and every time we crossed it, we would hold our breath and think, “I hope we make it across.” You’d see these large cables that were holding the bridge up, splitting, sagging, and the car would start rocking. And then, whew! Thank god, you’d be on the other side. We’d all sigh with relief.

And then, some time down the line, we noticed a new bridge was being built. We were still driving on the old bridge, but I was mindful each time we crossed the old bridge, of the beauty and the design, and at times, the precariousness of this new bridge that was under construction. I kept thinking, “I hope we make it to the new bridge before the old bridge falls down.” And then, one miraculous day, the new bridge was built and we were driving across it. The old bridge was no longer in use.

I feel like that’s where we are now. I feel like we are building this new bridge. I hope we can finish it in time. There are these two parallel realities that we’re facing: the old consciousness and the new consciousness. What will bring us together? Disasters? Economic crisis? Our awareness?

Read the whole interview with Terry Tempest Williams at Guernica Magazine:  Ground Truthing, interview by Devon Fredericksen (August 1, 2013)

Good to Remember

We might well believe that the law of universal gravitation whereby each physical reality attracts and is attracted to every other physical reality has its correspondence in the hidden or overt attraction of all human beings and all human societies to each other. This attraction takes place within a functional balance of tensions whereby each is sustained in its existence by all the others even as each sustains the others in existence. This seems to be demonstrated in the extensive and continuing efforts of humans to encounter each other and to establish a universal network of communication throughout the human order.

Thomas Berry

Source: Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as Sacred Community

Contributed by: Siona at Gaiam Life and Stream of Consciousness

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Reply

Flame Thrower

Naked, muscles rippling, sweat shining, he heaves the flaming spear into the black of night igniting life on some fortuitous star.

We have been told that a meteor carrying life molecules may have seeded life on this blue planet eons ago. Think of it. God, the Johnny Appleseed of the galaxies, casting life particles upon the Heavens…

The Earth a woman, womb lay in waiting, enveloping to nourish the first forms of life. The whole pageant of living plants and animals, microscopic to elephantine, began that day when a meteor streaked into the fair winds and plummeted to earth. How I would have loved to be there, to watch the fiery descent and crash!

One time I wrote about the place I lived – Tucson, Arizona -the Place of Black Stones, tracing its geologic and natural history to the present day saguaro forests. Here it is below. I challenge readers to try a similar exploration,  learn how your homeland came to be what it is. I guarantee it will change the way you relate to the landscape because in the long-view, we are just a flash in the pan, a part of the enormity. It’s humbling and for some reason I found it comforting.

From Paean to the Earth (Williams, 2008, Four Feathers Press)

Changeling

America’s Worst Idea – Fracking

Playing off Ken Burn’s title for his award-winning film about the National Parks (America’s Best Idea), I look at fracking as its polar opposite. The fact that it is in our repertoire of extraction technologies at all is another indication that we are still willing to let expedient methodologies lure us from harder decisions that truly turn us toward the cleanest forms of oil extraction.

Hydraulic fracking threatens watersheds and releases carbon monoxide gas (three times more heat-trapping than CO2). Below is a report from Cornell University demonstrating the increased threats to global ecosystems from fracking as compared to mining coal.

Howarth-EtAl-2011

We let this business opportunity drive another stampede to economic development and individual profit. Its true that new jobs at drill sites pay well. Desperate Americans and their families follow the gravy train to pull themselves out of poverty. They are not to blame.Shame on us that we provide opportunities that imperil workers, their families, and communities from the worst impacts of a highly polluting form of extraction. The National Academies Press just released a report on the health impacts of fracking on workers. Once again the technologies are in front of safety for workers; after they begin showing signs of health problems, then we begin to investigate.

Yes, going to natural gas as we make our way to alternative fuels that are not harmful to the environment is a strategy we have to use. But HOW we get there and HOW SOON we get there are once again subverted to benefit oil companies at the expense of everyone on the planet.

Human beings possess not only reasoning but the ability to realize when we have misunderstood something; gosh, maybe we could be wrong. The ability to recognize our mistakes and take a new path is commendable. There is too much staid language about energy independence at all costs that drives public opinion. Endangering our precious water sources, human- and wild- life while adding more heat-trapping gases into our atmosphere is not increasing national security. Don’t buy the rhetoric. Think for yourself.