Sunday, May 28, 2017

Feminine Wisdoms

Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I come across a sponsored link for one of those pages... you know the ones, full of love and feminine wisdoms. In fact, the page is called Feminine Wisdoms. I will add here that spellcheck hates the word "wisdoms." It is not an existing word. That tells me more than I need to know right here. Hell, I make up words, too, though, so I can't be to harsh. But I digress.

 I note that some of my friends like and follow this page, and that tens of thousands of people like this page. The post is full of loving words, quotes from a book on Gaia. I read it.

'The Goddess is not just an ancient statue or an energetic archetype, she is present us, in the beauty of nature, in every living creature and leaf of plant. Begin to see her life giving energy, feel it in your own body, she is the joy of movement, and the single falling tear, she is the sacred feminine inhabiting both women and men and she has returned to offer us a gift - a gift to reclaim this planet as heaven on earth through the energetic vibration of love.' - Earth Mother by ORUPSIA:
Sister, trust your vibrant inner knowing,
that lucid vision that speaks
to you. The truth you cannot
Nourish the fertile gardens of
your wild inner terrains knowing
that time of harvest will come... all things
flower in their time.

Beautiful, right?

Sure. Evoking all those images of Mother Earth, drawings of a woman all flowy and with a full swell of the Earth for her womb, looking all serene and demure, her arms lovingly wrapped around that swell. Surrounded by wildlife, all looking as serene and demure as she is.

I hate it.

This is why we aren't taken seriously by and large. That first part is pretty nice. But then, ya lost me. All this gentle and nurture-y shit? Mother Nature is FIERCE. She gives and gives freely, but when she needs to be cold and hard, she will destroy. She is all about balance, and if something is out of that balance, BOOM down comes the hammer. She is flowers and rolling hills and she is tornadoes and hurricanes. Let's not forget that part. People get all surprised when our neglected mother allows entire communities to be wiped out in an hour. Why surprised? Why shouldn't she? What do we do for her?

I digress. The point here is that the flowy gentle lovey stuff can come after we warriors, the carriers of her wrath, are done. We go first. Then we'll need you and your fertile gardens.

But for now, step aside. There's work to do. We don't have time. Let the front line go through. Join in or move aside.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Don't Shut Up

In a previous post, "On The Turning Away," I referenced a Pink Floyd song. It's a good one. Written in 1987, it is no less spot-on now. Why don't we listen the first time around? This seems common. Here are some of the lyrics:

No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
It's not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there'll be
No more turning away?

It's why I say over and over again, don't shut up. Those that spread lies don't shut up. They keep talking until their lies become truth. We're polite, so we back down. We don't want to argue. We don't want to seem loud or inappropriate.

What has this gotten us? Frustration and abundant stupidity. Misinformation. People who don't know and don't care. It's time to change that.

So what if there are some who think we are rude or don't want to listen to us? It's not for them. It's for the people who don't have a voice. It's for that person on the side who hasn't had the courage to speak up and maybe thinks they've been wrong this whole time until they hear you, you - speaking up, saying exactly what they have been wanting to say but were scared. Next time, because of you, they may be able to speak. Or the time after that. We speak because it's the truth and the truth should be spoken. The truth should be shouted from the rooftops.

The stakes are too high, the risks are too great, the losses are too unfathomable. Don't shut up. We can't. It's up to us. There's no one else. So we sound a little crazy. (Crazy people, incidentally, don't shut up either.) We may sound like conspiracy theorists. Again, so what? When the shit goes down, at least we can say we tried.

Let me say that again: At least we can say we tried. Don't shut up.

Here's a link to a version of the song if you want to check it out, with the lyrics listed, I highly recommend: Love the album art, too.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

On the Turning Away

It's no secret that we have turned away from Nature. I'm far from alone in thinking that this is the source to most if not all our problems. Sometimes, though, my brain goes a little sideways and I get all X Files on myself. I can't help it - I think a lot. (And I like the X Files.) Step into my brain for a few. It's OK. It's dark, but I'll let you out. Maybe. Mwahahahah...

This is going to apply largely to the US, because in Europe and other places, humans actually eat a lot more sensibly. I am anticipating Spring, and the bounty that will explode in my yard. I will practically graze after this hard Winter. Plantain, dandelions, purslane, chickweed.... an abundance of healthy stuff provided by Nature. For free. Healthier than some of the stuff we pay big bucks for in supplement form. Every one of them is either ignored or cursed by the majority of those with yards or gardens.

I only mention the four most common in my yard. Other "weeds" are maligned in other places, healthy things like burdock and nettle, but I'll focus on these. Especially dandelions. As a child, I was completely delighted by every aspect of these happy bright beauties. They provided hours of entertainment on the playground. We wished upon the seeds. We made chain necklaces out of the stems. We picked giant bouquets of sunny yellow happiness. I can practically still feel the consternation of our neighbor, as our dandies grew freely, and he had his lawn visited by the ChemLawn truck every year. (I shudder to realize that I played on that lawn, too. Ick.)

We spend millions and pour tons of herbicides into the Earth to destroy this little piece of sunshine. And still it grows. And it may be one of the most beneficial plants on the planet. I had received news that my cholesterol is a tad high. As I refuse to take drugs for this, I turned to my herbal remedy books to look up what Nature recommends. First on the list? Dandelions. What do we do to manage our cholesterol? Get prescriptions for something created in a lab. What am I going to do? Turn to Nature.

Purslane is crazy high in Omega-3 fatty acids. And it grows like crazy. The more you try to pull it out, the more it grows. Like crazy. And it's actually delicious. Raw, cooked, sauteed, steamed, tossed in with almost anything. And yet where do we go to get our Omega-3, which are highly recommended? FISH OIL. Because no one is making money if you get your supplements FROM YOUR YARD. Money would be lost all the way down the line, right to Big Oil who is responsible for those plastic bottles. (Thanks, Roger!) And if we knew we could munch on free stuff from our lawn, we might not spend money on herbicides (Monsanto) and we might be more healthy and we would not need Big Pharma. Follow the money.

It gets worse. Grape seeds - insanely healthy on multiple levels. What do we buy in stores? Seedless grapes. I have actually looked for black grapes with seeds still in them. They are very hard to find. Hmmm....

The list goes on and on of things we can easily get in Nature that would keep us much more reasonably healthy, but we ignore them completely, avoid them, or worst of all actively kill them with poison. Poison that harms us too. So we need more Big Pharma. Can you blame me for thinking it's a conspiracy? Do you see it now, or just think I go too far? I'd love to hear. When did it start? This turning away? Have we been turned away on purpose... slowly... slowly... am I going to disappear?

Pink Floyd has an awesome song that comes to mind for this: 

"Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering
Or you'll find that you're joining in

The turning away"

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Make the Connection

It was over the course of a few days - a flurry of plastic articles and headlines.

From the Guardian:

Phthalates risk damaging children’s IQs in the womb, US researchers suggest

While at the same time, in another area: 

The Oceans' Plastic Pollution Problem Is Far Worse Than We Thought, and Here's Why

And even this:

Fleeced again: How microplastic causes macro problems for the ocean

(Photo: Paul Kennedy/Getty Images)
Maybe I was just paying extra-super close attention. Maybe I'm extra tuned in. Maybe people really don't care. Maybe I have more time than parents. Maybe they should make more time. After all, they're the ones that have to deal with the consequences. Theor kids and their kids' kids.

The phthalates story was in the news scroll at the bottom of my morning news viewing, and t was followed immediately by the warning that there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the ocean. Surely, surely that was on purpose, and surely, surely people made the connection.

Right? Surely? Yeah.

Too much plastic in our oceans and environment, and too many plastic chemicals messing up our children. There is no magical solution to this whole thing. It won't be cleaned, it won't go away. There is no "away." There is only mitigation at this point. We are not going to find a way to magically scoop up the plastic in the oceans despite the cool articles you see people share. There is no amazing bacteria that is going to lunch on plastic and solve our problem. Frankly, if there is - like the shared articles claim - then I will just wait for the whole new host of problems brought on by overfed insane mutant bacteria. There is no fix, other than to stop adding to the problem. Stop.

It is the one solution: stop using this stuff. It wasn't enough to tell you it was bad for the environment and to cut it out before it was too late. Now it's directly affecting your kids and it is too late and now maybe you'll pay attention.


There are too many people here. It is unsustainable, and we are ruining the place. And because we need cheap and convenient for all these way too many people, we use plastic, and it's just plain bad.

I have to wonder what's going to give first. Will we back off in time or will Nature take care of it for us? I know what my bet is on. Go ahead - guess. I'll wait.

I do use plastic. It's very hard to avoid. I wear fleece and other clothing that will give off microfibers. I am certain this would not be so much of an issue were we keeping a closer eye on population. There is nothing that cannot be blamed on there being too many people for this ecosystem. Period. So, here we are. Let's see where we go next.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Mama Bear Myth

The Urban Dictionary defines “Mama Bear” as a mom who can be cuddly and lovable but also has a ferocious side when it's necessary to protect her cubs, and suggests “a tough, aggressive, and protective mother, often going to extreme lengths to protect her child, usually her son, and herself.”

There are a number of memes and blogs saying things like, “If you mess with my child, I will unleash my fury and destroy your world” or “I may seem quiet and reserved, but if you mess with my children, I will break out a level of crazy that will make your nightmares seem like a happy place.” And a favorite: “You ain’t seen crazy yet … but you will if you attack my children physically or verbally. Hugs! Love, Mama Bear.”

Yes. All well and good. Sounds bold and protective. Except you don’t really mean it. I don’t believe you. When asked this question, “Is working to try to prevent environmental damage for the future really a part of being a good parent?” ninety-three percent of the public (men and women) agreed in an anthropological poll and study by MIT investigators. Yet, where are you? Where have you been on the great threats of our day?

You will overreact to some perceived slight and call it being Mama Bear. You will get all Mama Bear on those of us who might cast a glance aside if your child is having a public tantrum and we have the nerve to let a touch of annoyance cross our face, as though your child can act up anywhere but we are not allowed to have any feelings about it. Because you’re a Mama Bear. “Don’t mess with my cubs.”

Here is why this doesn’t ring true. You aren’t fighting the most important fights for your children. You are busy insisting you can breastfeed wherever you wish, and your children are allowed to run amuck in a restaurant and we have to tolerate it because they are kids and tough nuts to anyone else in the vicinity. You cheer on a mother who punched another woman for daring to speak about a tantrum the child was having. While you are doing these things, your kid’s real and actual future is in trouble. Your kids and your kids’ kids are in profound trouble, but somehow, this doesn’t bring out the Mama Bear in you. Why is that? Why are there so many moms claiming to be mama bears sitting back and doing nothing when climate catastrophe can be seen on the horizon, or when the chemical industry teams up with bioengineers to alter your children’s food supplies in dangerous ways?

We have the very real threat of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the chemicals they can tolerate on our dinner tables. You can’t be bothered. With all the studies pointing to danger, we ask you to use your mother bear might and vast numbers to help fight, but apparently it’s too much trouble. Your daughter’s reproductive rights are at risk, but you won’t go vote because you can’t or won’t make the time. BPA bleeding from plastics are affecting your kids’ long-term health, reproductive health, your unborn kids’ health and development, but you haven’t taken the time to even know what BPAs are. The research is everywhere, but you don’t know and do not care to educate yourself. Climate Change is here and it is causing widespread disruption to the point where your kid’s future is going to be very tough - full of droughts, famine, intolerable heat and dangerous cold, diseases, shortages. Scientists just warned that the oceans will be completely destroyed by 2048. Where’s Mama Bear on this urgent warning? Too distracted? Too tired?

You are not a Mama Bear. You fall for every convenience out there because you are so busy. You give your kids fast food and chemical-laden plastic-wrapped processed crap, because being a mom is tough and you are tired and don’t have time or energy. You are putting your kids in very real danger. No, it’s not the immediate and very real danger of a bully or a snarky comment in a store. It’s the slow, deadly danger of cancer. Or sterility. Or developmental difficulties. Where is your fury and your crazy here? Where is the Mama Bear now?

This is where I get a lot of “You aren’t a mom, you don’t know.” What I do know is that people like me who don’t have their own kids are fighting for your children. We are fighting on a pretty grand scale, as a matter of fact. We’re trying to make sure your kids have a future here on this planet. We are thinking ahead. I know we’re in trouble here, and I know you brought your kid into this world, but you aren’t really thinking about their kids with your Mama Bear claims. I am. I’m thinking about your kids and their kids and all the kids, everywhere, while you are busy growling about your kid getting a behavior correction from a store employee.

So before you get all Mama Bear and smack me down with a giant paw, why don’t you listen for a moment, and take the time to realize that I am on your side. I’m on your kids’ side. While you are all riled up in the moment, I’m in it for the long haul. Yes, there are some super-awesome moms out there. There are moms out there fighting the big fight, there are some really good Mama Bears out there. They see the whole picture, and this little piece is not aimed at them.

Think about this: actual mama bears raise their cubs then never have anything to do with them after about their second spring. Is short-term parenting what you are modelling for your children? I doubt it. Let’s drop the bear myth and end the misplaced ferocity, or better yet redirect your focus and anger to the real threats by fighting for your children’s future.  Let’s work together for the long-term future of children everywhere.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Debunking the Debunking

We've been over this before, but it seems to bear repeating. Someone tried to bring it up to me as a debate point, so here I go again.

There's this whole group dedicated to "debunking the myth of overpopulation." Actually, they've distilled it down to three easy steps. That's all it takes to prove that we are not overpopulating the planet. I can beat them. I can debunk their debunking by their third paragraph. Observe:

"... let’s define overpopulation. Overpopulation describes a situation where the number of people exhausts the resources in a closed environment such that it can no longer support that population.
Let’s imagine that our PRI offices were to suddenly become a closed environment, with nothing allowed in our out. Obviously, I and my colleagues would exhaust the available resources very quickly: The water cooler would be drained dry, the refrigerator would be emptied out, and the oxygen would be all used up.  
Obviously, my office has too many people for its natural resources, but I haven’t started trying to eliminate my co-workers to ensure my own survival.  I haven’t launched a sterilization campaign against my younger colleagues or encouraged my older colleagues to jump out of the windows.  Why?
Well, of course, I am constrained by Catholic moral teaching.  But aside from that, I know that my office is not a closed environment. Neither are most instances cited by overpopulation zealots, such as crowded cities or poor countries.  None of these are closed environments."
Well, there's the problem right there. What's the problem? They make no sense. At this point I start to feel it's unfair to even pick apart their points, because really they just aren't good points to being with. They are defining overpopulation (supposedly), but they aren't defining a "closed environment." Sure, they can leave their office. Sure, people can leave the cities. Sure, people can leave poor countries. But at the end of it all, we are still just on one planet, which would seem to indicate a "closed environment." Unless they have a spaceship and another M-class planet that they haven't mentioned.

Until they define "closed environment," I can't be swayed but this.

We haven't even gotten into their three reasons and they have already lost anyone with any sense. I like to hope, anyway. But let's entertain them a bit longer and look at their three reasons that they think overpopulation is a myth:

1) “Food: there isn’t enough!” Since the time of Thomas Malthus, who lived in the early 1800s, doomsayers have gloomily predicted that mankind would outbreed its food supply, resulting in catastrophic famines.  Yet the world currently produces enough food to feed 10 billion people, and there are only 7 billion of us. That is, with 7 billion human minds at work, we produce enough food for 10 billion human bodies. Imagine how much food we can produce with 10 billion minds!

This one kind of makes me squint - you know that look you can't help but get on your face when you are talking to someone and you start to suspect they aren't all there ... like this:

They seem to be missing out on a few points here. How much waste is created by that food? How much of that food is actually healthy and sustainably produced? How much harm are we inflicting on the environment producing that "food"? For that matter, define food. Oh, they go on, but they really don't get much better. So I keep this expression on my face. Oh - and I like Malthus. He knew stuff.

2) “We are running out of water!” The earth is awash in water.  Oceans cover 70 percent of the planet’s surface to an average depth of 6,000 feet.  That’s why the earth looks blue from space.  You cannot use up or destroy water; you can only change its state (from liquid to solid or gas) or contaminate it so that it is undrinkable.

Wow. See the picture above. Or, let's just look at actual facts rather than Fox News talking points:
  1. While nearly 70 percent of the world is covered by water, only 2.5 percent of it is fresh. The rest is saline and ocean-based. Even then, just 1 percent of our freshwater is easily accessible, with much of it trapped in glaciers and snowfields.
  2. Clean Water Crisis - Environment - National Geographic
Um .. I'm gonna have to go with Nat Geo on this one. Oceans? Yeah, sure. Here's a glass of ocean water. Drink it. Go ahead. I'll wait. Finish it! And yes, we are actually contaminating it at an alarming rate as well. Because, you know, feeding 10 billion people creates a lot of waste that goes into where? Water supply. Oh, and while our glaciers are melting, to where are they melting? INto the oceans. So the fresh water locked up there becomes ... say it with me ... ocean water. Drink it.

I almost can't go on. But I must, to #3.

3) “But we’re growing exponentially!”  Um,...No. We’re not. We are growing, but definitely not at an exponential rate. In fact, our rates of growth are declining. Between 1950 and 2000, the world population grew at a rate of 1.76%. Between 2000 and 2050, it is expected to grow by 0.77 percent. So yes, because 0.77 is greater than zero, it is a positive growth rate, and the world population will continue to grow.

Give me a minute. My brain went all squishy and tried to ooze out my ear for a short time there. Um ... yes, yes we are. If our rates of growth are declining, how is population still increasing? Is it increasing more slowly? In some areas, perhaps. But they contradict themselves all in one paragraph. So I don't even feel the need to argue it. I'm hoping sense prevails with most people reading this. And let's just put this right here: 1.76% of 5 billion versus .77% of 7 billion. See what I'm saying? Exponential - they keep using that word. I don't think it means what they think it means.

They go on to spout a few fun facts which really just leave me despondent. Here's the link to the page if you really want to check them out. You've been warned.
I've glossed over some of the points. I had to. Really, if there are people that are falling for this, there's really no hope for them anyway.

Let's all enjoy a moment of silence.

Thanks to Futurama for an endless supply of Fry faces from which to choose.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tread Lightly

Sometimes the smallest things become really big analogies. Yes, I will definitely explain that vague splutter. I arrived home the other day to find my husband sitting outside with our neighbor, having a nice chat over a beverage. My husband sat in a lawn chair and the neighbor enjoyed our porch swing, which is not on a porch but rather in the grass under our shady magnolia tree. Apparently they had been there for about half an hour. Our neighbor is … er … well, he’s a super cool guy and I like him a lot, so I will say he is ... energetic. Maybe twitchy. Excitable? Passionate. Let’s stick with energetic. He kept the swing in motion which is what you do on a porch swing. It’s what I do on the porch swing. It has “swing” right in the name. I looked at the ground beneath him. He had on some pretty serious work boots, and in the short time he sat there, he had chewed away the grass beneath him with the heavy tread on his boots and total restlessness. It has been a very wet summer here and our grass is lush and thick and more tough weeds than actual grass, but he had cleared it to the dirt in no time at all. Dude left, and I pointed it out to my husband, who for some reason had not noticed. Gashes in the Earth. Gouges.

This is of course not a big deal. Sure, it’ll take a few weeks for those spots to cover again, but no harm, no foul. Our yard is not neat, it’s just a fairly respectable yard. But this opened up a pretty big realization on my part. This tiny little nothing-incident made me think of how little most people think of their actions upon this Earth. So many of us tread so heavily and don’t ever even notice. In this case it was literal tread.

How many of these have you stepped on today?
While I go about the business of trying to bring awareness, so many others go about their life on this planet without a thought as to the weight of their tread. This isn’t even as far as carbon footprint, which figures in there, of course, but just the footstep upon this place we call home. Sometimes I get paralyzed in my yard because I realize how many creatures are under my feet at any given time! I admit I am a little uber-aware. (If “uber” can have the value of “a little.”) But I have to be the balance for those who are completely and totally unaware, apparently. I’m surrounded.

It comes down to this: we have a lot of problems going on today. We aren’t going to fix them, they aren’t going to go away, nothing is going to get better until we realize the effect we are having on the planet. We are disconnected, we don’t think, we don’t realize. We gouge and gash and scar and simply walk away, don’t look back. We consume, waste, dispose of, procreate, and we go about it with too little awareness of the consequences. We need to reconnect and we need to do it now. After all, how can we fix the big things if we can’t even notice the little things? I found this great quote but not the author, so I cannot give credit, but it’s a really good one: “The future lies before you, like paths of pure white snow. Be careful how you tread it, for every step will show.”