This morning I stood in my backyard among the trees, bushes, grass, water, birds, and squirrels. In that quiet I heard the Spirit of God that fills all of Earth and all of life. — MRM
“7But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 8or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 9Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? 10In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” — Job 12:7-10
“O Lord, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions.” — Psalm 104:24
“A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself.” — John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra.
“If you study what the Creator has put here on earth, you will learn many things. The earth has much to teach us.” — Vi Hilbert (Upper Skagit Tribe) in Messengers of the Wind. Quoted in Chris Highland, Meditations of Walt Whitman, 67.
At this time every year, Washington State’s legislature is busy, and laws are being made which will affect our climate future and our environment. Fortunately, here in Washington, we have environmental groups that track the content and progress of bills and that make recommendations to residents about how to contact their Senators and Representatives regarding these bills. I do that–take those recommendations and contact my legislators–and it takes hours of reading, understanding, and writing work, but I’ve found over the years that what bills are passed or not passed translate into the reality of whether we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and protect the wonderful natural world we have in Washington.
I’m proud of our environmental groups, our legislators, our businesses that work work to protect the environment and to reduce greenhouse gases, and of the many residents who volunteer their time to protect our habitat. I’m proud of the newspaper reporters who research the issues over the years and publish the many considerations involved, and I’m proud of the democratic process that I see occur in it’s full vigor each year during January through March.
This week’s United Nation’s report about the climate portrays a grim future for us–a grim future resulting from not taking climate action. By taking action locally, as we do here in Washington, I gain hope.
In his message, Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen provides an “update on the remarkable progress of the ‘Save the Local Free Press’ movement.” Such progress is critically necessary given the decimation of newsrooms in the last decade (“44,000 local newsrooms jobs lost in the last 10 years”). This decimation has led to many towns and cities no longer having local reporting (a situation known as a “news desert”) or having newspapers that are hollow shells of what they once were (“entities known as ghost newspapers”).
[My comment: It’s reporters on the ground who know the local territory, people, and issues—and it’s those reporters who do the interviewing, researching, and fact-based reporting that creates our irreplaceable local news. That’s why it’s important to have well-staffed newsrooms that can accurately and thoroughly cover the many facets of our communities.]
Despite hits taken by newspapers, local newspapers [print and digital] are still “regarded as the most trusted and news information source by a majority of Americans,” and it’s local newspapers that “produce more local reporting than TV, radio, and online outlets combined.”
As Blethen notes, when we don’t have “strong local newspaper stewardship,” [as opposed to “absentee-owned ghost papers”], and when we don’t have “strong local content,” then fake news and misinformation flourishes. This situation has contributed significantly to the “worst civil discord and deepest societal fault lines since Civil War Times.”
Blethen points out that “our Founding Fathers created the local free press system as the essential platform for our democratic experiment,” for they knew that “a democracy could not develop without the ubiquitous availability of news and a literate citizenry.” Consequently, they created the First Amendment, created the U.S. Post Office, subsidized publisher’s distribution costs, and invested heavily in public education.
Key Actions that Blethen says are needed to save our local free press—and hence, our democracy—are
1. “Rebuild local newspaper newsrooms.”
2. “Replace absentee financial mercenaries” (the far-away owners who scavenge a newspaper’s financial assets and leave newsrooms emaciated).
3. “Rebuild local stewardships” (he lists several ways to do this, as you’ll see from his article).
He also stresses that Google’s and Facebook’s digital advertising monopolies must be ended and that these companies must pay for the newspaper content they use.
Per this article, these Washington State representatives have engaged to save our local free press: Sen. Maria Cantwell, Senator Patty Murray, Congressman Dan Newhouse, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. McMorris Rogers, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and former Rep. Dave Reichert.
Recent legislation to save the free press:
Community Newspaper Act (Sen. Patty Murray was responsible for the passage of this act)
Local Journalism Sustainability Act (Sen. Maria Cantwell has been key to the development of this proposed legislation).
Blethen says that “the critical steps to “restoring our vibrant and trusted newspaper system and saving our democracy are
– Pass the Local Journalism Sustainability Act’
– Develop a permanent subsidy to replace the lost postal subsidy our founders created.
– Severely limit absentee newspaper ownership in the future.
– Break up Big Tech marketplace abuse and monopolistic practices.
– Hold Big Tech accountable for fake news, misinformation, and irresponsible social media.
– Create incentives for new local stewardships to replace the absentee short-term investors.”
Some recent local-free-press articles from the Seattle Times:
Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State just released his Climate Strategic Agenda. It’s a detailed plan to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Washington State, to transform our state to a clean energy economy, and to employ people in executing the transformation.
In her column, Margaret Sullivan relates how local journalism is in serious decline—and that that’s bad for democracy. Newspapers serve as watchdogs over corruption, they inform citizens of civic and local happenings, and they serve as sources of vetted, credible information.
Print newspapers (and their associated reporters and staff) had already been adversely affected by the digital revolution (“Between 2005 and the start of the pandemic, about 2,100 newspapers closed their doors), and they were trying to adapt to that new reality when the pandemic struck. As she says, “Since the pandemic, at least 80 more papers have gone out of business, as have an undetermined number of other local publications . . .”
Sullivan characterizes areas of the country that no longer have local news as “news deserts,” and she refers to another phenomenon called “ghost newspapers” in which a paper still exists in name but, because it has lost many reporters and staff, it no longer thoroughly covers local events. In 2020, Sullivan wrote a book called Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy.
Various organizations and members of Congress (our own Senator Maria Cantwell and Representative Dan Newhouse, for example) are working to support journalism, but, as Sullivan’s article makes clear, Americans themselves must recognize how a free, independent, and strong press is essential to a healthy democracy—and they must support it. As she notes: “Studies show that people who live in areas with poor local news coverage are less likely to vote, and when they do, they are more likely to do so strictly along party lines.”
Without solid journalism, we’re more likely to not think independently and to not vote informed but instead to spew the party line.
For current information about what’s being done to salvage the free press in America, please go to the recently established “Save the Free Press” website at https://company.seattletimes.com/save-the-free-press/. Per the newspaper article by Brier Dudley, “Free Press web site debuts,” Seattle Times, 12 Nov. 2021, https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/free-press-web-site-debuts/ the “Save the Free Press” website will serve as a “resource for educators and those wishing to learn more about the importance of the local press, the challenges it faces and what’s being done about it.” At that website is also a link by which you can sign up for the free “Voices for a Free Press” newsletter.
[Note: I subscribe to a local paper, a regional paper, and a national/international paper. I subscribe to glean the different perspectives they provide and to do my bit to support the free press and my nation’s democracy.]
What could help? Lots of people could take upon themselves the responsibility to subscribe—print, digital, or both—to their local paper, and they should consider subscribing to a credible national/international news publication. Like having a town government, fire department, police department, school system, and civic organizations, having a free press and a public that reads the news is essential to civil society and to democracy.
Do your bit, contact your local newspaper and subscribe.
During this COVID-19 time, it’s good to get outside. Fortunately, we in Kitsap County have lots of outside available.
So much to be thankful for: forests to meander in, trails to bike on, places where we can gaze at the Puget Sound or sit and read, and beaches where we can identify shells, crabs, ducks, and seaweed, or just amble along. Here, it’s easy to get to nature, for nature is just a walk or a short drive away from anywhere in the county.
People and Organizations
Our parks and preserves didn’t happen by accident—and that’s where the thank-you to people and organizations comes in. Delving into the histories of open spaces reveals that many exist because of the work, planning, letter writing, and legislating done by engaged folks. Additionally, these parks and preserves are now maintained (trail clearing, trash pickup, invasive weed removal) by park professionals and volunteers.
Here’s a tiny sampling of the people and organizations conserving Kitsap’s nature:
Gene and Sandy Bullock, Don and Judy Willott, and many others at the Kitsap Audubon Society provide the forum where knowledgeable lecturers teach us—during photo-filled presentations at the society’s monthly meetings (now virtual)—about birds and their habits and habitats.
Kitsap Audubon is about birds, but it’s also about preserving habitat and the environment. Gene and Sandy lead Christmas bird counts where they point out buffleheads, mergansers, wigeons, and kingfishers. Don and Judy have worked for years to bring bike/walk trails to Kitsap and were heavily involved in the creation of the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park. Kitsap Audubon provides scholarships to college students who are pursuing environment-related majors, and it gives kits to classrooms so that children can explore the world of birds. Kitsap Audubon also promotes—via organizational participation and money donations—habitat conservation through groups like Great Peninsula Conservancy.
Led for years by Sandra Staples-Bortner, and now by Nathan Daniel, Great Peninsula Conservancy purchases and oversees habitat, receives donated lands, and arranges conservation easements. In its twenty years, GPC has conserved over 10,000 acres of open space. Being apolitical, GPC provides a place where people of diverse interests enjoy coming together to do good by adding to Kitsap’s nature.
Attending the annual fundraising dinner (virtual in recent COVID years) at Kiana Lodge is to get a positive fix, seeing the cross-section of people there. Over the years, thousands of people—environmentalists, business owners, tribal members, advocates for parks and trails, fish/plant/wildlife experts, volunteers, and politicians—have supported GPC. We’re nature-rich because of it.
Parks and Preserves
Parks and preserves are our wonderful heritage. Have you seen chum scooting upstream at Chico Salmon Park or seals lounging at Manchester State Park? Have you watched swallows flit among trees at twilight as you walk on the Clear Creek Trail? Have you identified shell types at Point No Point or gazed across the Hood Canal at the Olympics from Kitsap Memorial State Park or the Guillemot Cove Preserve? And how about strolling among trees and bushes at Port Gamble Forest, North Kitsap Forest, Illahee Preserve, Newberry Hill, Tahuya, Banner Forest, Coulter Creek, and other parks. Here, it’s easy to do.
We have first-rate nature education. Washington State University–Extension’s powerhouse program has been enthusiastically led by talented women—Peg Tillery, Renee Johnson, Amy Linhart, and Amy Smalley—all ably assisted by marine biologist Jeff Adams of Washington Sea Grant. WSU–Extension sponsors Beach Naturalists, Stream Stewards, Shore Stewards, Salmon Docents, Shore Friendly, and other education/conservation programs.We’re fortunate in Kitsap to also have many individuals who are passionate and educated about nature and who share their knowledge of trees, berries, fish, and ferns.
That’s only a few of the those that conserve our nature and teach us about it; others are Stillwaters, Islandwood, Western Washington University (through its SEA Discovery Center), Olympic College’s Dept. of Environmental Studies, Salish Magazine (an online publication by John Williams of Suquamish), Suquamish and S’Klallam Tribes, many activist groups, and more.
Finally, thank you, local newspaper reporters.
Without reporting, nature can’t be conserved because advocates wouldn’t know of the threats and opportunities affecting it. Reporters do the gumshoe work of interviewing city officials, legislators, science experts, and residents. Reporters seek facts, outline pro and cons of issues, and give the history of a community. Reporters interview experts in marine biology and forest management who tell us details of salmon, orcas, rockfish, maples, Douglas firs, and evergreen huckleberries and how they all fit together. Christopher Dunagan is a gem: he reported for years for the Kitsap Sun about the science and issues of the Puget Sound. His mantle at the Sun was subsequently taken up by Nathan Pilling, Christian Vosler, and Jessie Darland. Thank you, reporters.
We in Kitsap County treasure our nature, which we learn about, conserve, and enjoy. That engagement is paying huge dividends during this COVID-19 time, for we have many places to safely explore—and much for which to be thankful.
(Addendum: Recently, I moved to Jefferson County where I’m finding similar nature-protecting organizations—Jefferson Land Trust, Audubon clubs, the Marine Science Center, Washington State University-Jefferson County Extension, and others—full of people who are caring for nature.)
God created the heavens and the Earth, or more specifically, through his spirit he molded all the planets, stars, and the life they sustain using energy, elements, and physical laws of the universe. He engineered the cosmos through gravity, atomic forces, chemical and genetic relationships, and more. We now know that Earth is 4.5 billion years old, that life evolved, and that humans were part of that sculpting from the metaphorical mud.
More truths about the physical universe are discovered each day, and as each day brings us new knowledge about how the universe works, we learn something more about how God put together and runs his physical creation. God is truth, and the truths we learn about rocks, water, bees, and trees, and the rest of his creation tells us more about how he works.
God is proud of his creation, and he tells us his creation story. Like any good speaker or writer, he knows his audience, so he communicates to each generation in a way they will understand. He did not tell an Abraham-era audience of sheepherders and fishermen the story of creation using light spectrum and molecular genetics terminology—words which would have passed unfathomed over their heads. Instead, he framed the creation story as a parable—a man and woman formed and brought to life out of mud that had been touched by spirit. He talks to us in the twenty-first century differently: same story, but different words.
We understand more details about our physical construction today than did the people of Abraham’s day. We know that raising hands in prayer occurs when blood-nourished muscles using mitochondria powered cells raise the bones, skin, fat, and tendons of our hands up toward heaven. The physical act supports the spiritual act—communing with our Father. We have bodies to live in and to pray with.
In one thousand years, our knowledge of the physical process of creation will be markedly more than it is today, and even more so in a million years (if our species survives that long). What doesn’t change is God ‘s spirit, love, and life behind it all, and that the exploration of God’s essence and of our relationship with him is available to all humans in all eras in whatever the terminology of the time is.
Note: Ellen Bernstein, in her essay “Creation Theology: A Jewish Perspective,” which is in The Green Bible, pages I-51 to I-57, says that “[C]reation theology isn’t creationism, the belief that the world was created by God in seven days. Creation theology is interested in the nature of nature, the nature of humanity, and the interplay of the two.”
Wonders of Wildlife wowed me with its fish, mammals, and birds—all entertainingly displayed, either alive or stuffed. As important as the many hunting and fishing stories is the conservation history and ethos conveyed throughout the campus. Founder Johnny Morris best summarizes the spirit of Wonders of Wildlife when he says, “Thanks for sharing the journey in conservation. Happy huntin’ and fishin’!”
Wonders of Wildlife comprises two sections: the 1.5-million-gallon Aquarium Adventure and the Wildlife Museum, a day-long exploration that a brochure informs us was “Voted American’s Best Aquarium and Best New Attraction by USA Today readers.” Children ogle at live fish, frogs, sharks, turtles, alligators, beavers, birds, penguins; adults also learn about fishermen, hunters, Native Americans, and conservationists. Adjacent to the aquarium and the museum is the first-in-the-nation Bass Pro Shop. All of them were founded by Johnny Morris, noted fisherman and conservationist. The complex will soon add a “Nature’s Best Photography” section.
I’m a conservationist who hunted and fished lots with my family in Colorado during my childhood and teenage years, though U.S. Navy work and conservation advocacy have occupied my older years. One of my brothers remains the big hunter in our family. (Sidenote: one evening, as I was reversing the family’s Volkswagen Rabbit out of our driveway to pick up my prom date, I smelled something, so I stopped the car, opened the back hatch and discovered a dead deer there—my hunter brother having been the most recent user of the car.) During one of our walk and talks, my brother reminded me that much of America’s conservation of wildlife and habitat has been done, and is funded by, hunters and fishermen through hunting tags, fishing licenses and through organizations like Ducks Unlimited. The Wonders of Wildlife experience in Springfield, Missouri tells that story—the importance of conservation in America (such as creation of wildlife refuges, national forests and parks, and legislation such as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act) and the roles that hunters and fishermen—men and women who frequent nature—have played in the conservation of America’s wild species.
Conservation-related quotes are posted throughout the museum:
“There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country.” ⸺ Theodore Roosevelt
“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers but borrowed from his children.” ⸺ John James Audubon
“In the end . . . we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught.” ⸺ Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist
“Conservation is wise use of the earth and its resources for the lasting good of man.” ⸺ Gifford Pinchot
“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife, are in fact plans to protect man.” ⸺ Stewart Udall
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” ⸺ Albert Einstein
“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying our air and giving fresh strength to our people.” ⸺ Franklin D. Roosevelt
“We must leave them a glimpse of the land as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.” ⸺ Lyndon B. Johnson
“The parks are the Nation’s pleasure grounds . . . and the Nation’s restoring places . . . The national parks are an American idea; it is one thing we have that has not been imported.” ⸺ Franklin D. Roosevelt
“The idea of preserving in a national grouping such spots of scenic beauty and historic memory originated here in this country . . . In Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, other countries have followed our pioneering example and set aside their most magnificent scenic areas as national treasures for the enjoyment of present and future generations.” ⸺ Lyndon B. Johnson
One poster states, “Only across the great lands and waterways of North America does the mission of conservation belong to the people, to the sportsmen and women who both enjoy and protect the great outdoors. Here, we believe that our fish and wildlife belong to all. And so we take it uniquely upon ourselves as conservationists to proudly and diligently safeguard all this land for all generations to come. For sportsmen and women, conservation is more than just a word—it’s a way of life. “Did you know there is a 10% excise tax on firearms, bows, ammunition, and sports fishing tackle? This excise tax, along with license fees and more, helps to generate more than $1.5 billion for wildlife research, management, and habitat improvement. “Since 1937, they [sportsmen and women] have raised more than $57 billion for public conservation. 80% of that funding for fish and wildlife agencies comes from sportsmen and women. Hunters and anglers also donate more than $400 million every year through conservation and sporting organizations.”
The museum relates significant periods and people in American conservation. For example, I learned that the Boone and Crockett Club (founded by Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell) launched a National Display of Heads and Horns in 1906 (later moved to the Bronx Zoo) which first brought to people’s eyes the wonders that were very close to being forever lost.
That display, which is now in the Wonders of Wildlife Museum, helped mobilize people to stop the extinction of big game animals in North America, such as buffalo, elk, pronghorn antelope, Rocky Mountain sheep, black bears, and other species.
“We can no longer rule over the beasts of the earth and seek ‘dominion’ over our environment. We human beings are not privileged beings who are above or separate from the world. We are part of the landscape and everything in it. With this awareness come humility and the gift of harmony.” ⸺ Black Elk
“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.” ⸺ Chief Seattle
While walking to heads and horns, I passed through a corridor of the mammals of North America, all in one place, refreshing for me in one place what I’d seen in parts in various national parks. “Ah, that’s a weasel, as compared to that critter there which is an otter.”
Big-game hunter Theodore Roosevelt became known as the conservation president because of the numerous laws and legislative actions he took to protect wildlife and natural resources. His pictures and quotes grace multiple walls in the museum.
Pictures of Lewis and Clark and clothes and artifacts of Native Americans fill another hallway.
The walls tell stories of, and quotes by, George Bird Grinnell (editor-in-chief of Forest & Stream magazine, co-founder of the Boone and Crockett Club, founder of what later became known as the Audubon Society), James John Audubon, John Muir (founder of the Sierra Club), Gifford Pinchot (first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service), Aldo Leopold (a renowned scientist and exceptional teacher who founded wildlife ecology; author of A Sand County Almanac), Charles Sheldon (campaigned for the creation of Denali National Park; he also recommended the present borders of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park), J.N Darling (political cartoonist who worked with Aldo Leopold to restore waterfowl habitat and who created the federal duck stamp to fund conservation efforts. Darling also served President Franklin D. Roosevelt as the head of what is the now the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service).
The creatures that almost weren’t that are.
In truth, we depend on all the creatures in this world. For in order to survive, we humans must consume plants and animals—life must be taken so that we may live. It is only with this awareness that we learn humility and find balance. Our lives need to be in a circle, not in a square, nor a straight line. ⸺ Black Elk
“Whenever in the course of the daily hunt, the red hunter comes upon a scene that is strikingly beautiful and sublime—a black thunder-cloud with the rainbow’s glowing arch above the mountain; a white waterfall in the heart of a green gorge; a vast prairie tinged with the blood-red of sunset—he pauses for an instant in the attitude of worship. He sees no need for setting apart one day in seven as a holy day, since to him all days are God’s.” ⸺ Ohiyesa, Wahpeton, Dakota
Morris conveys his conservation philosophy throughout the campus, and he stresses that the appreciation of wild things comes from being outdoors. As my Dad used to say to my siblings and I about how best to raise our children: “You gotta take em’ fishing.” Morris clearly conveys his love of fishing in his dedication plaque to his mom and dad who “always made time to take me fishing” and in displays like the National Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame (Ernest Hemingway’s fishing prowess is displayed there), and the section on fishing presidents, with its pictures of George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Harry Truman, and Franklin D. Roosevelt (with Winston Churchill), Calvin Coolidge, and Theodore Roosevelt. Johnny Morris is in the pictures too, fishing with many of the modern-day presidents.
One ticket gets you into the aquarium and the wildlife galleries (for prices, please go to https://wondersofwildlife.org/), and of course strolling through the nation’s first Bass Pro store costs nothing–at least until you see something in that huge hunting and fishing store that you just have to buy.
A day at the Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium & Museum and the Bass Pro Shop is a fish/animal/bird/history-filled experience for children, adults, hunters, fishermen, and conservationists.
“Inslee met with regional leaders from around the world, as well as top federal officials like EPA Administrator Michael Regan and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk, highlighting the worsening impacts of climate change in the Pacific Northwest as a call for urgent action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.” “Among the commitments are pledges to require 100% of new car sales be zero-emission vehicles beginning 2035 and 100% zero-carbon energy by 2045, as well as ensuring 100% net zero operating emissions from new building construction by 2030. Other commitments include conserving at least 30% of land and coastal waters by 2030 and ensuring that at least 40% of expenditures benefit overburdened communities and vulnerable populations.” “Inslee also joined other leaders from the Pacific Coast Collaborative for the launch of the Low Carbon Construction Task Force.” VIDEO: Learn more about PCC’s work and hear from state and regional leaders. Also noted in this press update: “Inslee announced an executive order to fully electrify Washington state’s public fleets and transition to a 100% zero-emission light duty fleet by 2035, as well as 100% zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty state fleets by 2040.”
The present presages an ungodly future I drafted this blog entry July 2021 (and have added to it since) while I was in Oregon feeling the week’s ungodly heat and seeing forest-fire smoke brown the sky. Knowing the IPCC predictions—a hotter world filled with forced migrations, extinctions, droughts, floods, big storms, big forest fires, ocean level rise and ocean acidification, and that each year of climate inaction will worsen the damage—could get me down, except that I counter such feelings by acting for climate and habitat. Someday I’ll stand before God, and he’ll ask what I did during my Earth sojourn. God gives us many ways to serve, and as George Washington Carver—a great man of service—once said, “Someday I will have to leave this world. And when that day comes, I want to feel that I have an excuse for having lived in it. I want to feel that my life has been of some service to my fellow man.” Me—I will have acted for climate and for the preservation of species, which is also for my fellow man.
Young people are targeting institutions (specifically JP Morgan Chase, Liberty Mutual Insurance, CITI, BlackRock, and the U.S. Federal Reserve System) that finance the fossil fuel business. For more information, please go to https://fossilfreefuture.earth/about
The biggest Pacific Northwest involvement in the 29 Oct. national climate protest will occur in Seattle. Old people are invited (and encouraged) to participate in this march for a Fossil Free Future.
What: Fossil Free Future: March & Action. Seattle, WA! START: Friday, October 29, 2021 • 11:00 AM Pier 62• 1951 Alaskan Way, Seattle , WA 98101
Old people (specifically, Bill McKibben and friends) just formed a climate protest group called Third Act, and we (I’m one of the thousands of old people who just joined) will marshal our experience, skills, and money for climate action and against climate action obstructionists. Third Act is supporting the young folks’ 29 Oct. national protest. For more information about Third Act, please go to https://thirdact.org/
⸺source: 350 West Sound Climate Action emails, 350 Seattle emails, Third Act emails
Lincoln in the light of history Learning Lincoln is a lifetime affair. He’s one of the great humans in history—a man with tremendous faith, strength, persistence, and courage, who saved the United States and freed American slaves, all while dealing with a large portion of the citizenry who wanted to kill him, egotistical and incompetent generals during the early years of the Civil War, tens of thousands of casualties, an erratic wife who threw pans at him, and depression. To me, the collection seems crushing.
Yet he’s the one American to whom the nation has bestowed the nearest equivalent of a religious shrine that can exist in a country that doesn’t worship mortal men. The words on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC are powerful, written after years of war carnage; they speak of the blood that has been drawn by the sword and will be drawn, until the last drop of blood drawn by the bondsman’s lash has been repaid.
Call your national legislators There has never been more important climate legislation before our national representatives than the current Build Back Better legislation. As stated in this 7 Oct. 2021 Sierra Club newsletter: “
The Senate and the House are actively negotiating the most important clean energy legislation in a generation. The Build Back Better Act offers historic climate investments that will put our nation on a path to 100% clean energy by 2035.” Americans must call, text, email, write, and talk with their national legislators—Democrat and Republican—and pressure them to pass the Build Back Better legislation. People disagree on parts of Build Back Better, and those parts can be worked on later, but the fundamental Build Back Better—with its necessary-to-our-survival national government backed push to revamp our energy system and our economy to one that doesn’t produce greenhouse gases—must occur.
Multiple organizations provide means to contact your legislators. Here are a few:
“Governor Jay Inslee will join Shannon Wheeler, Vice Chairman of Nez Perce Tribe Executive Committee in a special discussion hosted by WCV CEO Alyssa Macy at WCV’s Gathering of Environmental Champions. “Don’t miss this conversation between two Washington state leaders about how removing the lower Snake River dams will impact the health of our communities, our environment, salmon and, in turn, Southern Resident orcas in the Puget Sound.”
Date & Time: Thursday, October 14th, 12:00pm – 1:00pm, Zoom Webinar Go to the link above to register. The cost for individuals to register for the Zoom webinar is $20.
⸺The following is from a 9 Oct. 2021 e-alert from the Sierra Club.
Pres. Biden: Hold strong for the boldest Build Back Better Act! President Biden and Congress are now negotiating the final details of the Build Back Better Act. This transformative bill would deliver climate action, jobs and justice — so let’s get the boldest version possible across the finish line.
Geniuses, tinkerers, theoreticians, self-made engineers, disciplined and methodical men, problem solvers, humble and honest brothers—Orville and Wilbur Wright were all these, as the Wright Cycle Company and Visitor Center (part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park) displays. The Wrights lifted off the ground in Kitty Hawk, but they learned how to make a flying machine—and how to fly—in Dayton.
Wow, it’s big! Bigger than the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The National Museum of the Air Force (open to the public) at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base comprises four huge hangars (17 acres of indoor exhibit space) filled with planes and jets, stretching from a Wright Brother’s flyer to the Memphis Belle to a B2 bomber—as well as helicopters, missiles, and more. Plan to wander for hours gazing amazed.
My wife insists on comfortable bike riding. For me, who in my younger years had whooshed his ram’s handle, light ten speed with its narrow tires and hard, narrow seat around the cliff-edged curves of the Colorado National Monument, this slow, easy mode of bicycle touring is new—and nice.
She looks good sitting on her bicycle with its upright handlebars and soft seat as she pedals steadily along a level bike path while her ponytail moves gently from side to side. She has a rainbow-colored bell, and as she tells me, adding a basket would complete the ensemble. I like this genteel touring with my wife.
Years ago, when I was a medical student riding ambulances in New Orleans, we pulled into an alleyway one night to aid a woman who’d been raped and to take her to Charity Hospital. Seeing what someone had done to her, I learned then that mean, evil people exist. Think Vlad the Impaler or of those who ordered the use of thumb screws at the London Tower. As much as we don’t like to use a judgmental label like evil, evil exists.
Fossil-fuel caused climate change chaos has begun the eventual devastation of millions of people and other species through storm, floods, fire, drought, ocean rise, forced mass migrations, and mass extinctions. We know that now because of our monitors in the ocean, land, sky, and space, and because of the world’s many scientists who serve as modern day prophets.
Smoking was once cool, but now we know it causes emphysema, lung cancer and heart disease. Radium once made bright and easy to read our watches, but now we know it rotted away the jaws of the radium girls who wet the tips of their brushes with their tongues. We learned and we changed. Fossil fuels powered us into modern civilization, but now we know they are destroying the ecosystem which keeps humanity alive. We must change. The fossil fuel system must be rapidly transformed to a net-zero-greenhouse-gas system for our survival. But some companies are actively fighting that transformation so as to prolong their profits, which—in the light of what we know now about the climate crisis—is evil.
Some fossil fuel companies are using their power and money to campaign on Facebook to defeat politicians who support the bill that would—if passed—redirect our nation’s future toward clean energy (and in the same bill, remove taxpayer provided subsidies to fossil fuel companies). For years, these companies used their substantial powers to obfuscate the climate change discussion and to perpetuate the myth that climate change was not happening, and they profited immensely from the resulting delay in action. We are suffering now because of their scheming. Now, these companies are campaigning hard to delay our desperately needed rapid transformation to clean energy—and that delay will add to the heat, fire, floods, droughts, and winds that will displace and shatter millions of people and that will extinguish species.
It’s not a man with a knife, but instead a white-collar executive with a company board, but the result of both their actions are ugly and terrible. We know now what will happen if we don’t transition quickly to clean energy—and yet fossil fuel companies, to extend their years of profits from fossil fuels, are actively fighting the transition and are working hard to undermine those courageous politicians who are striving to ward off chaos and misery for many.
Look at the actions and the damage it does to people and species.
– Henry M. Paulson Jr., “We’re Living Through One of the Most Explosive Extinction Episodes Ever,” 30 Sep. 2021, New York Times, explosive extinction Snippet synopsis: We’re in terrible extinction times; Mr. Paulson presents ways to get out of them.
“Only the most important climate legislation ever proposed in America.”
The future of my grandchildren can’t be all about what Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema do. Call Republicans, too.
Two strikes and we’re out.
As Bill McKibben noted in a recently released webinar (see references) that hosted multiple fighters for climate-action, the United States tried to pass a climate bill in 2009 but failed. Strike one.
Twelve years later (it’s taken that long to put together another such bill), the U.S. Senate is deciding whether a second significant climate legislation will live. If we don’t pass the reconciliation build back better bill in the next week, then it’s strike two to our efforts to stave off severe climate chaos.
Climate scientists tell us bluntly that we must halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (only eight years from now). Earth doesn’t suffer fools. We have no strike three.
Passage of the reconciliation bill can’t be all about Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Some Republicans (two, three, or more) want a climate future for their grandchildren, and some will vote for this bill—even if it costs them their Senate seat. We’re told to telephone Manchin and West Virginians to emphasize that this is our last chance to use the powers of the United States government to rapidly accelerate America’s transition to clean energy—a rapid acceleration that must occur for us to survive.
I can’t believe that my grandchildren’s future depends on two Democratic senators’ votes. Yes, there is spending in this big reconciliation bill that individual senators of both parties object to, but there is also in this bill the only significant setting-the-direction-of-America climate legislation that we will see in years—and we have no other years left. There is no other national climate bill coming soon, and Earth won’t allow for us anything but soon.
This bill is it. Senators, work the things you object to later—but pass this bill. We need a survivable planet upon which to work.
Passing the reconciliation bill will redirect in a strong way America’s course toward clean energy. It will send a strong signal to other countries as we meet with them in Glasgow in November to determine the world’s energy direction. So much is determined by passage or failure of this reconciliation bill. As Mike Tidwell of Chesapeake Climate Action Network said in the webinar, this is “only the most important climate legislation ever proposed in America.”
Some Republicans (two, three, or more) want a climate future for their children and grandchildren, too, and they will act. This is a faith-and-strength-of-Abraham-Lincoln, foresight- and-audacity-of-Theodore-Roosevelt moment for our national representatives.
So telephone Republicans, too.
Two strikes and we’re out. It’s not a forgiving game we’re playing.
⸺ webinar “Build Back Better. Biden Climate Plan,” 24 Sep. 2021, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxPKw_Ahf7M [This webinar hosted climate action champions Jay Inslee, Leah Stokes, Bill McKibben, and Lennox Yearwood, as well as CCAN members Mike Tidwell, Clinton Scott, and Jamie DeMarco. They ask you to call your senators and representatives at 202-951-7780 or by going to https://www.call4climatenow.com/ to demand that the reconciliation build back better bill (which contains most of the climate legislation) be passed.]
We hear of the big parks: Yellowstone, Glacier, Crater Lake, Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountain—and I had a misguided prejudice that most of the special lands are in the West. And then we began our year-long trailer travel journey east from Washington State, and I saw how each state has its parks, forests, wildernesses, wildlife refuges, national lakeshores, national seashores, national historical and cultural sites, and national battlefields.
[Note: The following is pasted from a 22 Sep. 2021 e-announcement from Washington Wild.]
Each year Washington Wild presents the Karen M. Fant Founder’s Award to a volunteer activist who exemplifies the organizing passion and spirit of our co-founder, Karen Fant.
Past recipients include Olympic Peninsula activist Connie Gallant, Climbing advocate Matt Perkins, and Washington Outdoor Women Founder Ronnie McGlenn. This year, we are very excited to honor Richard Brocksmith with this award.
Karen M. Fant Founder’s Award Winner Richard Brocksmith, Executive Director, Skagit Watershed Council
As a valued member of the Skagit Watershed Coalition, coordinated by Washington Wild, Richard made a significant impact in 2021 by spearheading the coalition’s effort to reach out to local Skagit County government and land use authorities to oppose the pending mining permit in the Skagit Headwaters. He volunteered his time to successfully organize 10 resolutions and letters from the Skagit County Board of Commissioners, Skagit Public Utility District, Port of Skagit, Samish Tribe, and the cities of Anacortes, Mount Vernon, Burlington, Sedro Wooley, Concrete, Hamilton, and La Connor.
We just over a week away from Wild Night Out! Your support and contributions to Washington Wild keep our state wild and green for all of us. We hope to see you next Thursday, September 30th at 6pm
You can learn more about Washington Wild’s Wild Night Out annual fundraising gala and awards ceremony (virtual this year) at https://wawild.org/wno.
Save our communities and our country’s democracy: subscribe to a local newspaper and to a credible national/international news source.
As my wife and I trailer-travel about the country, I make it a point to read the local paper from the towns where we stay to see what the local concerns are and to see what the local journalism is like.
Local news is so different than national/international news (which has its own value).
I’d not realized the significance of Aldo Leopold until my recent exploration of the Leopold Center and the Aldo Leopold shack near Baraboo, Wisconsin. I’d read commentators who said that his book A Sand County Almanac was a pivotal book in American environmental writing, along with Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and I’ve enjoyed my way through three quarters of the pleasant-to-read and conversationally insightful Almanac. But it was at the Leopold Center where
WEDNESDAY, 9/29 | 6:00-8:00 PM PUBLIC MEETING #3: DRAFT PARK ALTERNATIVES
You are invited to join the Kitsap County Parks Department for the third virtual community meeting to discuss the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park Master Plan Project. This meeting will focus on alternative park and trail plans that have been developed. The plans include recreational and educational facilities that were identified during the master planning process and ongoing community engagement. The event will include a presentation followed by breakout groups in which attendees will have the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions.
I love it—a term for who I am. An identity that provides me and others of my generation another means to act for Earth during this double-whammy time of climate change and mass extinction. Newspapers recently reported (see references below) about gray-haired folks standing next to young people during their Extinction Rebellion climate protests. Also, Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, recently announced that he is putting together a gray-green climate advocacy group called the Third Act (see the article and the website below) that will be made up of “experienced” (another term I love) Americans.
Yay for climate-protesting, extinction-rebelling gray greens! If I had hair, I’d be waving it proudly now.
When: 25 Sept. 2021, 11 a.m. Where: Meet at the Manette Bridge in Bremerton, WA. What: speakers, music, booths and more. Plan to march from the Manette Bridge to Evergreen Park.
(addendum: See this letter to the editor about climate action and the upcoming climate march in Bremerton: Marty Bishop, letter, “Join our efforts to promote climate action,” Kitsap Sun, 15 Sep. 2021, Join our efforts to promote climate action)
More information: This from 350 West Sound Climate Action “Fridays For Future is hosting a Global Climate Strike on September 24. https://fridaysforfuture.org/september24/ In solidarity, Sunrise South Kitsap, 350 West Sound Climate Action, and Mason County Climate Justice are planning a Global Day of Climate Action on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 11:00 on the Manette Bridge with a march to Evergreen Park. At Evergreen Park we’re planning on having music, speakers, and booths.”
Bison: they’re here. They weren’t going to be, but they are! Bison restoration represents a great conservation success story, and it should inspire us as we battle to transform our greenhouse gas making ways. Bison—the big mammal that filled North America prairies and forests in the millions—were within a whisper of extinction, but then they were saved, and now their numbers are growing. Bison’s salvation occurred because Americans in the early 1900s evolved a new way of thinking about the natural world, and then they took action to save large mammals and their habitat. That new view continues per our continuing creation of national and other parks, wildlife reserves, wild and scenic rivers, and other habitats.
I love the national parks, and I agree that they are America’s Best Idea. I greatly appreciate the tough but wonderful job that the National Park Service does.
It pains me to hear of the current proposal to start commercial overflights of Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and other parks.
Planes and helicopters shouldn’t be buzzing our parks. We need places for quiet and introspection. We’re trying to get away from cities, highways, and airports. Planes—as you know—monopolize large areas of territory with their noise. When a plane or helicopter is overhead, everyone for miles around knows it.
Seeing the title “Clams: the RVs of the Beach,” and with me and my wife being in an RV this year, I had to see what the post on John Williams’s outstanding online Salish Magazine (https://salishmagazine.org/) said. Though only loosely connected with RVs (clams move their homes with them), this article (https://salishmagazine.org/rvs-of-the-beach/) by Tom Noland about bivalves is full of the science details and good pictures of beach creatures that you expect from Salish Magazine.
First, regarding local news: Today’s blog is about quality national news, but before delving into that, a brief mention about local news. As the Seattle Times article referenced below mentions, “most states lost half their working journalists.” The loss of so many reporters threatens communities with not having accurate and comprehensive news about what’s going on in their communities, and it also compromises the ability to hold local officials, agencies, businesses, and other groups accountable. Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State recognizes the risk to communities and democracy, so she’s striving to strengthen local journalism. You can read more in this article: Brier Dudley, “Sen. Cantwell on local news and keeping Americans informed,” Seattle Times, 30 July 2021, Web, Senator Maria Cantwell strives to strengthen local news
The Factual also ranks news sources, and it’s ratings of which are the most objective can be found at https://blog.thefactual.com/most-objective-news-sources. To determine these ratings, The Factual reviewed 828,00 articles from 53 sources, covering the period from 1 Jan. 2020 to 18 May 2021. For those wanting to know how the analyses were done, The Factual’s browser extension and the microsite IsThisCredible.com lets you drill down into the details.
[Note: This list does not include “local” papers (such as the The Seattle Times) which report lots of national news, though it does list The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post.] Per The Factual, these are the Top Ten most objective national news sources: Percentage Score Factcheck 86.2 Smithsonian Magazine 82.7 Undark 80.9 The Conversation 76.4 Grist 76.0 The Intercept 75.3 FiveThirtyEight 74.0 Lawfare Blog 73.3 Politifact 73.2 National Geographic 72.9
These are the objectivity ratings of those news sources after the Top Ten.
Percentage Score Vox 72.4 ABC News 72.0 CNBC 71.5 ProPublica 71.4 New Republic 71.0 Business Insider 70.7 Science Magazine 70.4 Washington Examiner 69.6 Reason 69.0 New York Times 68.4 MarketWatch 67.6 The Norton 67.4 NPR 67.2 Wired Magazine 67.2 CBS News 67.2 Mother Jones 66.9 LA Times 66.9 The Atlantic 66.7 Washington Post 66.1 Tech Crunch 66.0 BBC 65.7 Daily Beast 65.6 Politico 65.5 Quillette 65.1 The Guardian 65.1 Cato Institute 64.3 New Yorker 63.0 Reuters 62.9 USA Today 62.6 Real Clear Politics 62.3 Wall Street Journal 61.8 Financial Times 60.3 Voice of America 58.8 The American Conservative 57.8 Popular Science 56.7 Fox News 55.3 The Federalist 55.3 Al Jazeera 54.3 CNN 53.6 Breitbart 52.8 National Review 50.3 Washington Times 50.3 Forbes 49.3
My wife and I had come to Medora, North Dakota to explore the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, to see the Badlands and its animals and plants, and to see where TR attained solace after family tragedy, and where he established and then failed at two ranches. Those places and things we saw, and we had a wonderful nature- and vista-filled experience in the park, but the unexpected surprise for us was the entertainment and learning to be had in the town of Medora. North Dakota residents know about Medora (for there were many natives at the Medora Musical the night we attended it), but many of us out-of-staters don’t. The combination of national park hikes and panoramas, and the shows and shops in Medora, made for an activity-filled five days.
As Oregon governor Kate Brown relates in the opinion piece above, the West is on fire (my wife and I see smoky skies most days as we trailer travel around Oregon and Washington). She lists climate action measures that Oregon is instituting, and she demands that Congress act, too. In this climate crisis, it’s critical that we have insightful, courageous, and strong climate-action leaders like Brown and Washington governor Jay Inslee. We have some in Washington, DC (such as Biden, Murray, Cantwell, and others), but we also have many (much to our detriment) politicians there who are blocking desperately needed greenhouse gas controlling measures. As anyone who hikes, hunts, or fishes knows, nature has many blessings, but her hard reality does not suffer fools—and to not put in place now the United States infrastructure and systems that will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be foolishness on a grand scale. We need wise, courageous, and strong climate-action leaders in state, federal, and city government positions, and in business too, and we need infrastructure and systems that will allow us to have a future.
“Trees, trees and more trees” was Golden Gate Park Supervisor John McLaren’s motto when he helped design the shaded, pleasant, walkable, and popular Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon. Trees, we know, besides making our neighborhoods cooler and more pleasant, are part of the solution to the climate crisis.
I submitted the following in the comments section of the E.J. Dionne article that is referenced below:
When I first visited the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument years ago, I learned mostly about Lt. Col. George Custer and his several hundred soldiers—with a mention of Chief Sitting Bull and of Indians. When I toured the monument a second time, years later, information signs presented the Custer perspective, but they also presented stories from the Northern Plains tribes (comprising thousands of Indians in this—what I now call an American on American—battle) perspective. My understanding of the history of Little Big Horn is fuller, richer, and more real as a result. As E.J. Dionne points out in his essay “Opinion: Washington, Lincoln and the work they left behind,” The Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2022, Opinion: Washington, Lincoln and the work they left behind, the actual histories of Washington and Lincoln are more complicated and richer than the sanitized versions many of us were taught.