Category Archives: Uncategorized

Feeling Nature Deficit. Sad!

Last month I bought a “happy lamp” to fill my office cubicle with the light of a fake sun. This form of light therapy is supposed to mimic the effects of sunlight and improve your mood accordingly. The disease it tries to cure is SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, which usually occurs in winter when the days are darker, sunlight is milder, and time indoors seems preferable to braving the cold.

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Fake ads.

You’ve probably felt it on a rainy day. String together a seemingly endless set of rainy days, and your mood and energy level drop. SAD.

Does the lamp work? Maybe. But I’m not sure that sunlight is the only thing I’m missing. What about fresh air, greenery, water, and wildlife? I’m feeling less SAD and more NAD, or nature deficit disorder.

Unlike SAD, this disorder is not diagnosed clinically, and debate continues about what it really is. The term comes from a journalist’s perspective (author Richard Louv) instead of from experimentation. Grad students, get on this!

Cubes of Death

I have lived in worked in very natural environments and very artificial ones. My current

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Cubicle farm, minus the outdoor-farm part.

situation is one of the most artificial, and we joke that it’s a “cubicle farm.” One gray cube blends into another and another, and most of us don’t have a window to light our way. It feels very much like a cage. It is a dead zone. The hallways have zero plants. The windows cannot open, ever. It takes 16 flights of stairs and passing through a security gate before I can take a  breath of fresh air.

Because our office  works on marine conservation, I’m surrounded by photos of fish, whales, and other attractive, natural settings. I’m not sure if the pretty images make things better, or if the extreme contrast makes things feel even more desperate and disconnected.

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Pepe will walk me.

Today I plan to walk my dog into Rock Creek Park, a lovely, wooded oasis in the middle of Washington, D.C. My dog loves the walk, but really it’s the dog taking me to see the trees and the water.

Why Build What is Given

When I think of the greatest palaces and most impressive places built by humans, nothing comes close to even one flower. Why is that? Why can’t man-made “human nature” replace Nature? Shouldn’t we know best what we need?

Apparently we deceive ourselves into separation from natural inspiration. We build cathedrals for spiritual life, yet these spaces cannot compare to the wonders of nature.

I wish there were a bottle of Nature Supplement that I could drink to fix my deficit. I wish that my happy lamp could replace the Sun. I wish that I could become as free as wild fish, whose avatars hang in my cube. I miss being surrounded by life.

Planetary change, not just climate

It’s more than climate change we face. Much, much more.

DOWNER WARNING: Do not read this if you’re feeling blue. Come back after you’ve put on your rainbow coat of many colors. 

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Trampling on life is ultimately self-destructive.

Climate change is as real as cancer, and it is caused by us. Just as we have the power to quit smoking, we have the power to quit burning fuel. We can do this.

But the imbalance we face is not just one, discrete cancer on Earth. It is akin to multiple cancers, multiple diseases. It is a full-on, multi-symptom, doctor’s check up from hell.

It could be worse, I guess, because daily life goes on. Yet we’re distracted and dumb. Our planetary IQ is dismally low. People are foolishly debating the reality of climate change, while other, planetary changes demand a growing awareness–not a stifled second opinion.

Don’t even listen to the quacks. Keep learning about cancer number 1, climate change, while expanding your knowledge to cancers 2 through 25 of the environment, such as ocean pollution, the depletion of soil, and the extinction crisis. Listen to what the planet is telling us.

What’s Going On

We need to find new terms to deal with our syndrome. Some scientists have agreed on a new geological term of Anthropocene, meaning that the dust of the Earth is being shaped by humanity. That’s a good start.

I’m using analogies to human disease, because we can understand them intuitively. We can conceive of Mother Earth as a person with a deadly illness. We know what a sick person needs and doesn’t need. She doesn’t have a chance if the air she breathes is toxic, the water she drinks is poisoned, and the food she eats lacks nutrition.

She is faltering. As Mother Earth goes, so go we.

Do we call it a syndrome? Does Mother Earth have AIDS? She is metaphorically HIV-positive, and we desperately need a cure. Just as we fight for a cure to real AIDS, we must learn how to fight for a cure to planetary disease.

Planetary change is happening on the ground, just as climate change is happening in the atmosphere. At the core of the change is humanity’s imbalance with Nature.

This concept is really hard to digest. I’m not even sure what to call it. Maybe you have an idea that will give us a vocabulary to deal with it.

Climate change is very important and very real. It is part of planetary change caused by humans. The sooner we accept it and learn how to deal with it, the sooner we can move on to deal with the other cancers we are unwittingly creating.

Ignorance is death.

 

 

My photos from DC Women’s March

For more photos of signs, check out My favorite signs at the Women’s March on Washington from The Washington Post.

No justice, no “Beaches” remake

The media must be stopped.

The injustice being penetrated on the masses has never been so severe, up in here. Hell no, we won’t watch it.

Lifetime “Television” (#fakeTV), this weekend, is airing an atrocity that can barely speak its name. It is planning to show a remake of, help me now, the movie Beaches.

No! This cannot be allowed to happen. This is beyond wrong; it is beyond taboo. It requires the full resources of our subliminal justice system.

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Poor, hysterical Better. 

The original Beaches was flawless and sits in the inner sanctum of the panoply of official masterpieces of the Sacred VCR. It is the vehicle that drove the shooting stardom of Better Mildew, and that other chick, to new heights. It cannot be touched.

Poor Better will be rolling over in her future grave, the grave created by the re-makers of this sacrilegious celluloid. This will surely kill her, and that other chick too, although–Spoiler Alert!–she already died in the original.

Don’t even get me started on the new attempt to sing “Wings Beneath My Wind.” This should not be happening. I don’t understand why so many Americans are in favor of it.

Why can’t some things just be left alone? Don’t get me wrong, because I would be all in favor of fitting tributes, such as:

  • The Broadway Musical, Beaches (almost happened)
  • The off-Broadway mash-up of Beaches, Starlight Express, and Xanadu, called “Magical Bi-coastal Roller Divas”
  • The all-star tribute concert to Beaches, featuring Cher and Fran Dresher
  • The cruise ship tribute show, “Almost Beaches”
  • The elder-friendly performance piece in Celebration, Florida: “Heavenly Beaches”

But the movie? Don’t go there. Stop the humanity!

Some things cannot be improved, and other things simply cannot be imagined. No one in their right mind could imagine trying to remake Beaches. Yet here we are on the cusp of the unimaginable.

Justice is blind, and so will be everyone who watches this Lifetime movie atrocity. Put that in your Twitter feed and eat it.

 

Does environment have a prayer, at inauguration?

Religious leaders are pleading for president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration to include prayers for the Earth. Five prominent clergy sent the letter last Friday, one week before this Friday’s event, to invited spiritual speakers, as reported by Greenwire.

“We are collectively concerned about what we can expect for the quality of air and water, and the protection of our precious public lands,” state the multi-denominational letter. It references Pope Francis’s environmental tome, Laudato Si’, and Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical relief agency led by Rev. Franklin Graham, who is also President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The letter is addressed to four of the six tapped to pray at the inauguration:

  • Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York
  • Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center
  • Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
  • Rev. Franklin Graham

The letter asks them to “say a few words that would encourage the President and his team to make clean air and water, a safe climate for future generations, and protected public lands a top priority.”

It is unclear why the letter was not addressed to the other two invited televangelists who both preach a prosperity gospel: Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Detroit and Pastor Paula White of greater Orlando, who is called Trump’s personal minister.

Prayers have been a tradition at U.S. presidential inaugurations since 1937. Rev. Billy Graham, 98, presided at inaugurations for Presidents Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. His son Rev. Franklin Graham, 64, prayed for George W. Bush in 2001 and will return Friday for Donald Trump.

Monday's mood at the National Cathedral was decidedly anti-Trump.

Monday’s mood at the National Cathedral was decidedly anti-Trump.

The choir of the Washington National Cathedral will perform at the inauguration, and on Saturday it will host an interfaith prayer service for the new president. At Monday’s memorial service for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Cathedral hosted an event where speakers openly challenged the incoming president.

The tradition of a church service before the inaugural ceremony will continue. The Washington Post reports: “Trump, who identifies as a Presbyterian, plans to follow tradition and attend a private family church service at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House the morning of the inauguration.”

World more black than white?

On this holiday in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., pause for a moment to think about the world’s population by race. Things are not black and white.

The majority is Asian, with nearly two-thirds of the world’s 7+ billion people living in the region shared by India and China.

As the world’s second most populated continent, Africa has more than 1 billion people, which is larger than North and South America combined. Combine Europe and North America, based on these Wikipedia numbers, and it reaches 1.4 billion. But it’s unclear if the world is more “white” than “black.”

Here’s a map that tries to visualize nations by their population instead of their geography alone:

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This map shows how the world’s population is distributed (note how much Canada and Australia shrink).

If the world’s most populated continents could be represented by a classroom of about 25 students, you would expect to see this approximation: 15 students from Asia, 5 from Europe and North America, 4 from Africa, and 1 from South America.

This worldview may be disturbing to people who want to think they live in the center of the universe (I’m talking to you, New Yorkers). It may be disturbing to those who think their survival depends on being a part of the majority. Yes, there is a certain truth behind the saying of “safety in numbers.”

But you are a minority. Whether by race, or religion, or sexual orientation, or economic status, you are a minority. In one way or another, everyone falls into minority status. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Diversity is reality.

you are a minority. 

Does that scare you? Does than make you unsafe or weak? That is for you to decide. MLK Jr. says it could make you better.

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Today, you could make the world better. But first, it may require you to accept the fact that you, yes you, are a minority.

 

Make Fun Poems with Trump Tweets

Here’s a fun way to make very timely poems. Simply reorder Trump’s published words by following these rules:

  1. Select a week of Trump Tweets.
  2. Use 1 phrase/word per line, including punctuation as provided in the Tweet. No alteration, repetition, or additional punctuation allowed.
  3. You may provide an original title to poem.

Here’s an example to help you get started.

"Patsy Cline" 

Very strange!
People
extremely dangerous people
must ask for Federal help!
Julian
Jackie
Bill
was so careless
The "Intelligence" briefing
is record setting
so-called "Russian hacking"
was delayed until Friday, perhaps
Some people just don't understand the "Movement"
onto the battlefield.
Assange
Clinton
(Arizona)
shooting victims
build a case.
General Motors
must remember that
If the Mayor can't do it
"a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta"
or pay big border tax!
Mexican made
album sales have skyrocketed after announcing
it is not affordable -
There should be no further releases
"CRAZY"

(created from Trump Tweets, first week of January 2017)