Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day

Hey mom! It’s spring, and really pretty outside. Thanks for the flowering cherry trees I can see outside my window, and the tender little vine maples with the slenderest of new leaves just now uncurling from wherever they slept the winter away. Thanks for my dogs barking in the backyard, running and playing and wagging their tails. Thanks for the bright and unlikely-to-actually-rain-today clouds of a Northwest spring.
Thanks for my friends and my family and the art on my wall. It’s all of a piece, and if I can just stay in the moment I can see that.
Oh...and thanks for the bring purple tulips and the fifteen colors of green in a single tree outside.
P.S. Thanks for the beam of sunshine.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Seared Ground

I'm in Lake Chelan, Washington, at a business meeting. Through a variety of odd linkages, that resulted in my visiting with two cowboy poets in the bar last night. They're real cowboys, the kind of men that lead strings of horses and mules up into the roadless North Cascades.

I asked them about global warming and climate change. First, they didn't question it at all. These are men that know the land and the trees and the snow pack and the migration of animals like I know stop signs and walking trails and urban dog parks.

So I asked them, "All right, what's the biggest danger for you? What do you see up there in the wild?"

They worried most about fire. There are a bark-beetle killed trees (bark-beetle habitat is changing - I think spruce worms is the other term I've heard) which they say will burn like torches. Combine that with the way the forest has been managed for people instead of for the sake of the forest itself; we have too much underbrush, too many years fire hasn't neatly scored out the deadfall. They said the fires are so hot now they sterilize the ground. They told me a tale of a government-sponsored program to truck in straw - bales and bales and bales of pale-yellow straw - and use helicopters to spread it across the seared earth in hopes that it will slow erosion and decompose enough to allow grass to grow again in a few years. They said that without the straw, all of the places touched by the too-hot fire wouldn't grow anything for a decade or more.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Seattle Times Challenges us to Reduce Carbon Footprint

With Earth Day coming, the Seattle Times spent a lot of expensive Sunday paper ink talking about how to reduce the average family's carbon footprint. Kudos to them. Read the online article, or better yet, buy a copy of the paper which has a great colored pull-out on the topic.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Paving Paradise

I didn't make it out to any of the Step it Up protests today, but I did get out for an after-dinner walk with the dog. We did some cloud-watching as the evening burnished the bottoms of the clouds with gold and yet still lit the very tops brilliant white.

During dinner, we had been talking with a friend of ours who wants to be a Red Cross worker after she retires, and is already looking into how to get the right training. It seems like a good idea: climate change almost certainly means climate chaos (after all, why should the climate take to change any better than we do?). I mean, really. Hailstones as big as fists landed in Dallas and late spring snow fell all across the southern plains this week, followed by violent thunderstorms.

But back to cloud watching. I grew up in the 60's and 70's, and I like a lot of that music. I have what I call a "green mix" on my ipod that I put together for an event about ecologically sound choices. So by pure coincidence, I ended up walking across a wide swath of wetland/open space that Nintendo has posted permits to build on while listening to Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" - you know, the one about paving paradise with parking lots. I was singing it, too, really loudly, and Nixie, our golden retriever, was walking in front of me with her tail wagging to the beat. A few songs later, back on the main street, John Denver crooned through "Rocky Mountain High."

These songs were seeds of change.

We've been working on these same issues for forty years. We've made a little progress.

The last song in my Mix is "Imagine" by John Lennon. If you know those lyrics, that's what we need to do now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Step it Up Seattle

There is a large linked global warming event coming on April 14th (This Saturday). Called Step it Up, the idea is to gather and promote actions to mitigate global warming. Sort of green protests if you will. Find one near you at I'm quite heartened to see there are a LOT of events planned for the Pacific Northwest. In fact, the map looks a lot like the red/blue voting map, only for this saturday, the coasts are bright green and the interirior is dotted with green, mostly in the major cities.

I may have to miss, but I hope that these are well attended.