Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ponies and Balloons

Do me a favor, and read this. It's not long. I want to show you a few YouTube videos about what's going on in the Gulf.

Disclaimer: I don't really know what I'm talking about. I'm not an expert, I'm just a person. I'm just another guilty consumer. Also, I don't fully agree with everything said and shown in the following videos.

Did you hear about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, 65 days ago? It happened on April 20th, and made for some rather spectacular footage on the news. While flipping through the channels I'd catch a glimpse of the CNN coverage. It was interesting to see how technology could chart the future progression of the oil gushing from the well, into the gulf and beyond. It made for a good conversation topic in the first few weeks, and gave everyone a new national enemy to rally against.

After two weeks, I sort of forgot about it. I mean, I knew it was still going on, and I knew it was bad news for the Gulf, but I had my own life to focus on here in Michigan. It was finally spring, here!

I was screwing around on YouTube this morning, watching funny videos. I'm not sure how I stumbled upon the first of the four videos posted below, but I'm sure glad it happened.

I don't really have the words to effectively express how awful the situation is in America. Please excuse this primitive post. I'm just getting it out there.

This is heartbreaking. I know Michigan feels like it's a world away from the oil spill. You're wrong. We're all wrong. We've been wrong for a long time, and it's time to right ourselves. It's been MONTHS, now. And what are we hearing about on the news? Michael Jackson's demise, one year later (and the G-20 Summit, and whether or not it's still relevant).

The videos below are of REAL PEOPLE. They're like us, but they happen to live along the Gulf, rather than amidst the Great Lakes. Just watch these videos, and think. That's all I ask. Use that powerful mind of yours. It'll take you 20 minutes, if you actually take the time.

Kinda Arnesen is the daughter and wife of Louisiana fishermen. From what I understand, BP invited her in to go behind the scenes of their ongoing recovery effort. I don't know how or why she was chosen. Posted just two days ago, this is a video of Kindra telling (what I assume to be) her neighbors about her experiences.

Here's an interesting perspective, that of the activists fighting not just for their own lives and lifestyles on the coast, but also for the countless animals suffering.

It's literally raining oil in Louisiana...

... and the surf on Pensacola Beach is BOILING with acid.

Here's a timeline of the spill, if you're interested. Here's another, by Newsweek.

I hope you're angry. I sure am. And horrified. And embarrassed.

It's not on the news, and it's certainly not on the front page of today's Lansing State Journal.

Being aware is better than nothing, which is what most of us are doing, right now. The silver lining of this horrible disaster is that maybe, finally, we'll begin the transition to a safer world. An economy not focused on greed and gain.

(Parts of this post have been revised for clarity. I'm awfully sorry if you were one of the first to read my jumbled thoughts!)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Talking at People

I've been trying to strike up conversations about this environmental "kick" that I'm on. No, I don't personally see it as a "phase" that I'll soon be over. My friends, however, aren't really enlightened when it comes to the current information and literature available about the Earth and where it's taking us. To be honest, most of the guys don't even READ. I feel relatively safe bloggin' about my woes, since these fellas mainly use the interweb for illegal downloaded music and movies. Probably porn, too. Forget blogs, news sites, or even informational YouTube videos. To my "crew," the internet is just one big, mysterious entertainment provider.

I've tested the waters in a few different ways. Some of these cautious toe-dips were successful... and others were not.

- The husband and I started a family garden at my aunt's house. So far, two of the guys (Z and R) have shown slight interest. R came to see it, on the way to or from somewhere with the husband and me. Z heard the two of us talking about our SuperRadishes last week, and thinks it's cool that we're growing some of our own food. We said he should come over with us to work on the garden sometime, and that we'd give him some veggies in return. He said yes, but we'll see if it happens.

- M, a good friend who's about to move from Mid-Michigan to Arizona, has been a victim of my numerous tirades about the scarcity of water in our near future. We come from a land of plenty, the heart of North America, the Great Lakes State. Even I don't fully understand how fortunate we are to be surrounded by fresh water. After showing him a few charts and graphs from The Great Lakes Water Wars, my hope is that he's truly started to think about what Phoenix will be like in 15 years. Or ten. Or five. Heck, I hope he's at least looking into the current average temps and rainfall, to date.

- The husband and I have devised a semi-longterm life plan. We're going to stay in the area for the next five or so years. Grad school is on the menu, and we need to save money. Once we're able, we'd like to head into the northern part of the lower peninsula and truly settle down. I've never been to the UP, so I'm leery of signing on to the rest of my life as a UPper. Anyways, we want to find a home somewhere in town and live a semi-sustainable life until we move on to greener pastures. Ideally, I'd like to have a long-term rental house that we could maintain, landscape, and update on our own. It'd be better to own our home outright, but I'm afraid of getting stuck. I'll put my feelers out, maybe post on Craigslist.

- I'm not sure if this last impromptu discussion was a success, or if it merely solidified A's gut feeling that I'm insane. Maybe that's a good thing. While sipping pricey coffee drinks at Barnes and Noble, and flipping through an architecture book full of ridiculously beautiful and expensive Michigan homes, I brought up cooperative living. It wasn't on purpose. I had nothing prepared - not even a basic explanation of what I mean when I say "cooperative living". All I really know is that I think group living would be neat, and smart. I expressed this to him, and he poked about a dozen holes in my balloon. Instantly deflated. Then, he realized that co-op-ing it was actually my idea and not some crazy scheme of my husband's. He suggested that we try it out. Go visit one of these EcoVillages for a while, and see how we like it.

Now there's an idea!

A hungry little review of Bill McKibben's Eaarth

I've been getting into things, lately. Numerous firsts, and a few seconds, thirds, etc.

I'm dangling off the back of the yoga train, and truly practicing twice a week. Far from my every-day goal, but not the worst possible outcome.

Last night, I played Dungeons and Dragons for the first time. I finally, sort-of understand how the game works. It was enough to show me that my half-elf bard character won't be enough to keep me challenged and entertained. Sure, it'll allow for a certain amount of mischeviousness, but I want to FIGHT! Kill some monsters, ya know?

Although my reading progesses at a slower pace than normal, I'm thoroughly enjoying Bill McKibben's Eaarth. To call it thought-provoking would be a cliche understatment. It's life changing in a completely new and important way.

"A car is the ultimate expression of individualism." Deep Economy, 152

"{Hyper-individuaism} may be a phase through which humans need to pass before they can figure out its limitations." Deep Economy, 157

I'd quote from Eaarth, but I'd end up typing out the entire book. Let's avoid copyright infringement. Just read it for youself. Weathering the long wait-list at your local library is well worth it. This book is an important piece of the coming (present, really) changes to our individual lives, local communities, states, nations, and society as a whole. Most importantly, it's about how nature has already changed, and it will teach us how to gracefully and sustainably adapt to these changes before it's too late.

I would write more, but my sandwich is ready and I'm famished. Gotta enjoy GRC while I can!