This beautiful ballad was shared with the Mammoth Cave Group of the KY Sierra Club last night by Ron Whitmore who sang it for our Holiday Party. I consider it the best and truest gift given to me in many years and one I believe is needed now. See the link at end to listen to the songwriter and singer, Greg Brown, perform it.
“WASH MY EYES THAT I MAY SEE THE YELLOW RETURN TO THE WILLOW TREE OPEN MY EARS THAT I MAY HEAR THE RIVER RUNNING SWIFT AND CLEAR AND PLEASE WASH MY EYES AND PLEASE OPEN MY EARS WASH THIS WORLD THAT IS ONE PLACE AND WEARS A MAD AND FEARFUL FACE LET THE CRUEL RAGING CEASE LET THESE CHILDREN SLEEP IN PEACE AND PLEASE WASH THIS WORLD AND PLEASE LET THESE CHILDREN SLEEP IN PEACE” (“Wash my Eyes” song & lyrics by Greg Brown)
My career is devoted to science education. Today on On Point, NPR, Katie Worth was interviewed about her new book, Miseducation: How Climate Change is Taught in America.
This is an important direction for post COP26 to prepare the next generation about the world they will live in and solutions to the problem. Why wouldn’t we prepare children who are bright and see the evidence of climate change in front of them? As Worth explores the subject, we come face to face with myriad societal, religious, political, and economic forces working against teaching American youth about climate change and solutions.
Vanessa Nakate, a youth activist from Uganda spoke at this morning’s COP26 session with High Level Climate Ambassadors. Her words are stunningly honest and stark. This morning she pleaded for wealthy countries to contribute to the Loss and Damage Fund. Youth leaders point out that the Global South in particular is experiencing climate change now. Unlike rich countries, the Global South countries have to borrow money from richer countries in the form of loans that they are not able to pay back. The Loss and Damage Fund has only one contributor so far: the small country of Scotland which pledged $2M. Vanessa pointed out the truth: the largest contributors to climate change are the rich countries, with the whole of African countries contributing only 3%.
Below is today’s panel discussion with three youth and three adult representatives of countries that have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, and specifically the Declaration on Children, Youth, and Climate Action which does not include the U.S. (on either convention). Only 26 countries have signed on to the Declaration.
Mediated by Mary Robinson, past president of Ireland, this is a critical video to listen to more than once. Youth are asking to be involved from the beginning when their countries develop the actions to decarbonize and prevent deadly warming. The panel also emphasized the need to include climate education as part of school children’s curricula which Mexico has already accomplished. The U.S. must recognize the rights of children and in substantive ways, include youth in climate planning.
If you have read Kim Stanley Robinson‘s latest book, Ministry of the Future, you know that banks play a pivotal role in delivering the human world from extinction. That, of course, is not a clean line to a solution. While banks work out how to finance the sweeping change from fossil-based markets to nature-based markets, bad “stuff” happens.
Pledges so far, but looks like it has real potential to drive climate mitigation toward a nature-based economy . Read from the Guardian about this new coalition that has incorporated nature into finance, finally accounting for impacts on our only source of life, and shifting industries and societies away from fossil-based values and culture. Among the nations of the world, the USA will struggle to make this change but thank God we are at least driven toward greener markets offered by this coalition as no culture is more in love with a profit and more adverse to fees than ours.
COP26 requires the USA, the biggest emitter of GHG per person in the world, to arrive with real commitments from our nation to do our fair share of actions that will keep humankind’s contributions to heating the Earth below 1.5 degrees centigrade global average. Even then, heating will not be evenly distributed as we see now, with many areas already experiencing extreme heat and humidity. Read IPCC Physical Science Report.
Still we have congressional leaders who act as if this is negotiable. The science tells another story. But, who is listening, truly? Countries who have contributed little to the GHG problem but due to geographical location and political/economic conditions within their nations are feeling it more — they are not only listening but speaking, especially to Americans.
Youth are paying attention and watching their future slip away in the haggling morass of the U.S. Congress, and the vitriol and divisiveness of so much of our national press. Turn it off. Listen to good music, take care of yourself and family and community. Plan for solutions to be very local. Turn to each other, wherever you live, and secure each other’s welfare.
Do all you can as citizens to move our leaders to action and to protect this Republic from the assault on its democratic institutions. Beyond that, you can analyze how you can become more resilient to coming climate challenges. Secure what you can for yourself and your family. And just keep on working with your legislators and social movers on the hope that good will win over evil. And then turn to your loved ones and friends and all whom you can possibly encourage or assist, and celebrate love, friendship, and the blessings of our Creator, however you understand Her.
Enjoy walking, feed the birds, care for trees and plant more in your location, and support all the efforts toward a just and safe world. Reciprocity is the basic and golden principle of life on Earth. Give and receive, back and forth, with joy and firm belief this is the only sure path at anytime, but especially at this moment in time and place. God bless you all!
COP26 will begin this coming Sunday in Glasgow, Scotland. Read the major goals of the conference here.
See this informative paper that explains the COP26 and the path to Glasgow. It is a hopeful but realistic summary of where we are and what is at stake now. Good way to get ready for following the gathering of world leaders.
This adage is one that Harry Chapin used and exemplified during his short but consequential life. As I’ve lived into my 70s, four decades more than Harry got, his words resonate more than in 1981 when I learned he had died in a car accident on Long Island where he and his family lived.
Harry’s musicality and folk music became known to me at the time he left this reality for the one beyond. My community of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, was in the final preparations for the first Run Against Hunger–a 10K footrace up over the Croton Dam and winding down along the Croton River past the New York Aqueduct, into the hamlet of 6,000 residents.
My neighbor called me. He had produced some of Harry’s early records and was stunned and sad at Harry’s passing. Would we make the Run a memorial to Harry’s memory? he asked, and offered to pay for the t-shirts for the inaugural race. The Harry Chapin Memorial Run Against Hunger was born that day, with members of the Chapin family attending the first race, and 41 years later the 10K and fun run is an institution.
The point being, you never know what you might set into motion that may take root and grow in the hearts of thousands, even a whole community. In this way, the race has built a small medical facility, helped establish a farmer’s credit union, supported orphanages–all in Africa–and kept a local food bank alive and growing into one that works toward solutions to poverty.
The Harry Chapin Memorial Run Against Hunger will be run this year on October 17, Sunday, in Croton-on-Hudson coinciding with celebration of World Food Day as it has each year. If you are in the area, please go. The village is lovely, the area gorgeous, and the race inspiring. Walk the 3K or the fun run, or if you are able, run the 10K.