Yikes, it’s cold where I live! The high today is -15 F, and with the wind it feels colder. Please don’t feel sorry for us. It is just another extreme, and we are all living in a time of extremes. We have extreme droughts, extreme rains and storms, and extreme heat. Minnesota might be back to 40 degrees in just a few days, a 70 degree high temperature change in a few days! Yes, extreme!
Most of us would rather be here in the cold than in the extreme heat and drought Australia is experiencing. While our cold weather is a short blip, they are experiencing a long-term extreme. Read about it here.
There are some advantages to a short cold snap like this. We can hope that some of the invasive bugs that are unchecked because of our warmer winters will be stopped or slowed down. The cold will completely freeze over the lakes which make them safer for winter activities, and can also lessen summer algae. My favorite thing about the cold is that the sun often shines making for beautiful bright days.
Is this part of climate change? Why does this Arctic air escape the Arctic? The Arctic has warmed faster than the 1.8 degrees the Earth has recently warmed. This warming has weakened the jet stream winds that would normally stay north, but this climate warming has caused these winds to seep south. Our warming planet has confused the jet stream causing them to rush where they normally don’t blow, bringing the Arctic winter cold with them. The extreme heat in Australia is a more serious problem that isn’t a passing scenario like our short-lived northern cold. Yes, our changing climate is real and we are experiencing it every day.
For many of us the past few days have been sad and disappointing. We so want decision makers that we can trust, and who see a vision of justice and respect for all. There is much work to do so we have to jump out of our sadness and work for a better world. Our world still depends on how we each live our life everyday.
The next month is crucial to talk to those running for elected office. Candidates will be everywhere, at your door, at community events and hopefully having debates. Tell them what you expect and what is important so get your one minute speech ready. Take action on the issues that matter to you.
Candidates for office need to hear us say how important clean water and clean air are to us. They need to hear us say that we need plastic bag and Styrofoam bans. They need to hear us say we need easier recycling and organic compost. They need to hear us say it needs to be easier for everyone to vote. They need to hear us say there are too many guns on the street, and of course women’s health care and women’s right to choose. What is important to you? What is your one minute speech? The quality of our world still depends on how we each live our lives. Get out there make things happen: Vote and get others to vote, be healthy and stop using chemicals, pick up trash, and everyday work for zero waste. Our world depends on how we each live our life and there are many people out there doing magnificent things.
“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, …courage, kindness. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. To live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” –Howard Zinn
Plastic lasts more than a lifetime! Humans have created 9 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and most of this plastic still exists on earth. Only 9 percent has been recycled, and 11 percent incinerated. That leaves much of the plastic ever produced floating around in our waterways, poisoning fish, or releasing chemicals in landfills. As citizens of this planet we should be doing everything we can to reduce the amount of plastic we use.
The PBS NewsHour is doing an interesting series on plastic this week. I hope you will watch. See below:
We need some good news, and thoughts of what is possible!
After a summer of hot weather, wildfires, and now hurricane season, some positive thinking energy is needed. This a collection of people, businesses and governments working to do good for our Earth. The following good news stories caught my eye:
I am going to start with two stories from France that were surprising.
A theme park has trained crows to pick up trash, especially cigarette butts. France also has a creative idea to put a tax on packaging that can’t be recycled. It would better if it was a tax on materials that don’t biodegrade, but any kind of tax is a great motivator, and a worthwhile education tool!
Also, in the European Union, the Greek Island of Tilos is going to be the first in the Mediterranean to power itself entirely with wind and solar. Read at renewable energy. And in Eastern Europe, Estonia is offering free public transport nationwide.
And good news in the United States, a non-profit in Durham North Carolina has started a program to use reusable containers for take-out. It is inspiring that Anchorage has banned plastic bags and Kroger stores say they are going to start phasing out single-use plastic bags. Like plastic bags, balloons cause litter and harm wildlife. Think twice before you use balloons, and read what is happening at balloons . Also, very good news, a judge has ruled that the Trump administration can’t change an Obama clean water rule
Good news from the Nature Conservancy: Inspiring stories of climate progress across the globe are a sign of what’s possible. http://bit.ly/2w6ozCt
“Too often leaders believe protecting nature … is at the expense of the economy or human well-being. I couldn’t disagree more strongly. We’ve made great progress quantifying what you can achieve by investing in nature.”
“We believe water is key to our future prosperity, and that together, we can achieve a water wise world.”
26 – 31 August, 2018, Stockholm, Sweden
World Water Week is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. It is organized by SIWI. World Water Week will address the theme, “Water, ecosystems and human development.”
The water on earth belongs to all of us, not to just big business or farmers, but to everyone. We depend on clean water for drinking and recreation, and our survival. We can’t choose business profits over the health of people. Let’s all speak out for clean water.
Water is life! I live in a water rich place, and worry that protecting this precious natural resource isn’t enough of a priority. We are at such an important place in protecting our waterways. The past ten years have shown declining water quality. Forty percent of Minnesota’s streams and lakes are not safe for swimming or boating and Lake Superior has many stresses also. Tell policy makers clean water is a priority.
Conferences and education are important, but each one of us has a role to play in protecting our water. There are simple things we can do that can make a big difference. First, reduce run-off on your property by redirecting drain spouts, planting deep-rooted native plants that absorb water, and making raingardens. Never use chemicals on your yard, and sweep your sidewalks. Third, buy less stuff, and reduce your plastic footprint by reusing and refusing. Fourth, tell elected officials clean water is a top priority. Finally, make a big effort to keep from wasting food. These things can make a big difference in our water quality. If everyone does a small amount it can make a big difference!
There is so much anxiety and frustration with our elected leaders. In August, I hope you can step back some frustration, be kind to yourself, and be kind to the people in your world. Let’s work to make things happier and kinder. Below are my actions for more kindness and happiness. Also, Action For Happiness has a new Altruistic August calendar. See below.
These are my August Actions. They will make you happy !