National Museum of the Air Force (near Dayton, Ohio)

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.

Also see

Genteel Bike Riding in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (near Cleveland)

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.

Continue reading “Genteel Bike Riding in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (near Cleveland)”

Fossil fuel companies doing evil

Call this greed what it is: evil.

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.

Call this greed what it is: evil.

⸺ MRM

See
– Hiroko Tabuchi, “In Your Facebook Feed: Oil Industry Pushback Against Biden Climate Plans,” New York Times, 30 Sep. 2021, In Your Facebook Feed: Oil Industry Pushback Against Biden Climate Plans

– 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.

Two strikes and we’re out. Call Republicans.

“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.

⸺MRM

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References:

⸺ 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.]

⸺ Mira Patel, “Explained: How two Build Back Better bills have put the Democrats in a tight spot,” Indian Express, 25 Sep. 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/us-joe-biden-build-back-better-bills-explained-7530969/
     [A well-written explanation of the reconciliation process]

Parks in many states

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.

Continue reading “Parks in many states”

Richard Brocksmith to be awarded by Washington Wild on 30 Sept.

[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.

News deserts: bad for America

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).

Continue reading “News deserts: bad for America”

Aldo Leopold’s Center and shack—for those touring the history of conservation greats

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

Continue reading “Aldo Leopold’s Center and shack—for those touring the history of conservation greats”

Port Gamble Forest Planning, 29 Sept.

PORT GAMBLE FOREST HERITAGE PARK MASTER PLANNING

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.

To register for this event, please visit
https://oacsvcs.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0lcOyuqTwoGdHMSVhLkQFhLhGwgP75ZfXd

⸺source: 14 Sep. 2021 e-announcement from Judy Sawin, Senior Project Coordinator, E: jsawin@oacsvcs.com, D: 206.384.6815, http://www.oacsvcs.com

Gray Green: that’s me!

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.

REFERENCES

2021-09-06 Karla Adam, “Meet the ‘Grey Greens’ joining Extinction Rebellion on the streets,” Independent, 6 Sep. 2021, Meet the ‘Grey Greens’ joining Extinction Rebellion on the streets

2021-09-04 Karla Adam, “‘Gray greens’: Grandparents are being arrested in London climate protests,” Washington Post, 4 Sep. 2021, “‘Gray greens’: Grandparents are being arrested in London climate protests,”  

2021-09-02 Emma Cotton, “Bill McKibben launches ‘Third Act’ to rally older Americans around climate change,” VTDIGGER, 2 Sep. 2021, https://vtdigger.org/2021/09/02/bill-mckibben-launches-third-act-to-rally-older-americans-around-climate-change/

Welcome to Your Third Act. See https://thirdact.org/ (accessed 14 Sep. 2021)